Davydenko Expects to be Cleared by ATP, Attorney Says

28 March 2008

Tennis pro Nikolay Davydenko is reportedly set to be cleared following a seven-month inquiry into match-fixing.

Officers from the Tennis Integrity Unit, the anti-corruption arm of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), are reportedly due to present their findings on corruption to officials at the French Open in May, but Davydenko's lawyer Frank Immenga said his client's name will be cleared.

"They should clear him any moment now," Immenga told BBC Sport.

The investigation began in August when, in an unprecedented move, online betting exchange Betfair voided all bets during a second-round match between Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello because of highly irregular betting patterns.

Top-seeded Davydenko lost to low-ranked Arguello, retiring early from the match with a foot injury.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which Betfair holds with the ATP, the two organizations exchange information. Betfair was required to report the irregular betting directly to the ATP, which prompted the investigation.

Davydenko has cooperated with the investigation, which required him to hand over bank and telephone records.

"They have phone records dating back from August last year and have come up with nothing," Immenga said. "I don't know what they are doing -- they are obviously fishing in the dark. It is a very sad story because Nikolay has been badly damaged by all of this."

But the sport may have been damaged as well.

During the course of the investigation, at least 15 male players reported that they have been approached to fix matches, and some have been suspended for betting on matches.

News of these improprieties following the alleged Davydenko scandal prompted the ATP to institute a zero-tolerance policy followed by a series of new rules, which require players to notify officials within 48 hours if they hear any information about gambling or match-fixing.

In a related matter, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) in February filed lawsuits in Belgium and France against Betfair, Bwin and Ladbrokes, all of which are licensed and regulated, to prevent them from taking bets on the French Open in May.

A lawyer representing the FFT told IGN in February that the suits were prompted by the Davydenko investigation.

It is understood the Tennis Integrity Unit is yet to uncover significant proof of corrupt behavior.

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