Players bet on tennis, but not their own matches

Updated: December 27, 2007, 5:25 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- The governing body of men's tennis confirmed Thursday that Italians Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali bet on tennis matches, and the players had no excuse for not knowing this was a rules violation.

The ATP said it began investigating in August and found that Starace wagered on matches in 2006 from Feb. 21 to May 23. Bracciali's bets were from May 17, 2004 through Jan. 24, 2005.

Starace made five bets totaling $130 and Bracciali made about 50 bets of $7, the Italian tennis federation said. The federation said both players bet on matches involving others and were unaware the wagers violated ATP regulations.

"Not knowing the rules is not an excuse," Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP's executive vice president for rules and competition, said Thursday. "Everyone connected to the ATP Tour has a duty to understand and respect the rules, especially those designed to protect the integrity of our sport."

Starace, ranked 31st, was suspended for six weeks and fined $30,000. Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and fined $20,000. Both suspensions begin Monday. The Italian federation last week called the penalties an "injustice."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press