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MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. The participation of leading tennis players from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in match-fixing has never been proved, President of Russia’s Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS on Monday.
The Russian tennis chief thus rejected the accusations reported by the BBC earlier on Monday that over the last decade players who have ranked in the top 50, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were involved in match-fixing.
"I can’t say anything because all this refers to the realm of rumors. Perhaps, there are such matches but there have never been any specific data on them. This cannot be ruled out but I have not heard that someone has been caught and something has been proved," Tarpishchev said.
‘We can only argue about this but in real fact leading players have never had such matches. If something had been proved, someone would have been disqualified long ago," the Russian tennis chief said.
The documents obtained by the BBC "show the enquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon."
The investigation examined suspicious betting activity after a game involving Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo. Both players were cleared of violating any rules but the investigation developed into a much wider enquiry looking into a web of gamblers linked to top-level players, according to the BBC.
The sole tennis players caught in match-fixing by now are Daniel Kollerer from Austria and Alexandros Jakupovic from Greece. The Austrian has become the first tennis player banned for life for attempting to fix matches between October 2009 and July 2010.
In late November 2011, Kollerer applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge the decision made by the ATP and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). However, the appeal was rejected in March 2012.
Jakupovic was banned for life in mid-December 2015 on five counts related to match-fixing.
Kollerer ranked 55th in the ATP rating in October 2009 while Jakupovic’s best result was the 464th position in the ATP rating in 2009.