Report: Bob Bryan says players have been targets of gamblers

Updated: August 8, 2007, 11:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

MONTREAL -- Men's tennis players have been the targets of anonymous requests to fix matches, top doubles player Bob Bryan told the Los Angeles Times in a story published Wednesday.

The revelation comes as the ATP looks into suspicious betting on a match last week involving Nikolay Davydenko.

The British-based online company Betfair voided all bets on Davydenko's match against Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina. In that match, $7 million in wagers were placed, mostly in favor of Arguello and much of the action taken after Davydenko had already won the first set. Arguello eventually won the match when Davydenko retired due to a foot injury.

Davydenko, of Russia, has not commented on the probe, but his agent has said that neither Davydenko nor anyone in his entourage was involved.

But Bryan, a member of the ATP Players Council, told the Times he knows of players who have received anonymous phone calls asking them to direct the results of matches a certain way.

"I don't know of any players that have ever gambled on tennis," Bryan said Tuesday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, according to the Times. "But there have been some anonymous calls to players' rooms with some monetary offerings. I know that. And I know every player I've talked to has turned it down."

Bryan did not name the players who had been approached, but said he was not one of them and that he thought the calls were "isolated incidents," he told the newspaper.

The ATP appears to be taking the matter seriously.

In an e-mail, obtained by the Times on Tuesday, ATP Executive Chairman Etienne de Villiers warned the tour's players that betting on matches is strictly prohibited and violations will be dealt with severely.

"The rules allow us to impose anything up to a life ban as a sanction and we will have a zero tolerance policy towards anyone found to have broken those rules," de Villiers said in the e-mail, according to the Times. "We have all seen how an issue can undermine the public's faith in other sports. We will not allow this to happen in tennis."

According to the ATP's rules, players and coaches cannot bet on matches and cannot "solicit, induce, entice, persuade, encourage or facilitate" anyone else to affect the outcome of matches.

John McEnroe, playing in a senior tour event in Carson, Calif., told the Times the ATP needs to "step to the plate ... and get to the bottom of this because I think it's a disgrace if it's happening."

McEnroe said he would be surprised if Davydenko were involved in betting on matches.

"It would be an unbelievably stupid thing for him to do, given the fact that the guy's [ranked] four or five in the world right now," McEnroe told the Times. "Talk about risking everything ... If a guy like that, in that position, would make that type of gamble. That would be insane."

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