Tennis star’s wife questioned in fix probe
BERLIN Nikolay Davydenko’s wife and brother have been questioned by ATP investigators looking into irregular betting patterns surrounding one of the Russian player’s matches.The lawyer for the fourth-ranked Davydenko said Friday he wasn’t authorized to give details on what the wife and brother were asked during Monday’s questioning by the former Scotland Yard investigators for men’s tennis governing body.The lawyer, Frank Immenga, also told The Associated Press he has asked for the ATP’s anti-corruption officer to rule whether there is enough evidence to warrant further investigation in the case. In the meantime, he wants the probe suspended at least for the rest of the year.”They have been investigating us for four months. It is a witch hunt,” said Immenga, a lawyer for the international firm Bird & Bird. “We just want this to end sometime because my client is under economic and mental pressure. He’s in the news all the time.”Rumors of match-fixing have swirled around tennis ever since the August match involving Davydenko at the Poland Open. He retired while trailing in the third set, citing a foot injury, against Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina.Betfair, an online gambling company, voided all bets on the match after unusually large amounts were wagered on the lowly ranked Argentine throughout the match, even after he lost the first set 6-1.Since then, several players have reported being approached and offered money to fix matches.Immenga said ATP investigators told him that nine people based in Russia had bet $1.5 million on Davydenko losing the match to Arguello. Another two gamblers, whose location isn’t known, boosted the total amount waged to $6.9 million, he said.Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that the investigators questioned Davydenko’s wife about the player’s ability to withstand pain since he reportedly received treatment before and during the Poland match.The questioning was held in Frankfurt because Davydenko, his wife and brother live in Germany.Immenga said Davydenko has refused to comply with the ATP’s request under its anti-corruption rules to hand over all his telephone records. He said that violated international privacy laws, including those of family and friends.”He can’t just provide records involving third parties, a call at the hotel or airport from a friend in Poland,” Immenga said. “That breaks several international laws.”The ATP could contend that tour players waive some rights to data protection by agreeing to the organization’s regulations.Immenga said Davydenko first heard from the ATP about the case when it requested the telephone records within seven days while he played at the U.S. Open.”If you want to investigate someone, then you talk to them, don’t you?” Immenga said. “But we have done within our means everything possible including making his wife and brother available.”Davydenko’s troubles have piled up since the betting investigation began.He was fined $2,000 by the ATP for “lack of best effort” during a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Marin Cilic at St. Petersburg last month, then was jeered by the crowd and criticized by the chair umpire while committing 10 double faults in a straight-set loss to Marcos Baghdatis in Paris.Davydenko is due to play in the season-ending Masters Cup next week in Shanghai, China.Czech player Jan Hernych is the latest player to claim he was approached to lose matches.He said in a Czech newspaper Friday that he was asked to lose first-round matches at ATP tournaments in Moscow and St. Petersburg last year.”Someone called me from the (hotel’s) reception to my room, asking whether I wanted to sell a match, if I wanted to lose,” Hernych was quoted as saying in the Czech Republic’s biggest daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes.”I rejected. I think that anyone who would accept it is absolutely mad,” said Hernych, currently ranked 165th.The matches allegedly involved were against Italy’s Filippo Volandri at the Kremlin Cup, which Hernych won 6-1, 6-4, and against Russia’s Evgeny Korolev at the St. Petersburg Open, which the Czech player won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (7).Hernych said he was not offered a specific sum of money.”They wanted to know whether I was willing to negotiate with them,” he said.