Tennis Officials Investigate Irregular Betting on ATP Match in Poland

By Stephen
Wilson, AP Sports Writer

LONDON
(AP) — Tennis officials are investigating suspicious betting
patterns on a match involving top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of
Russia, who retired with an injury against a
low-ranked opponent at an ATP tournament in

Poland.

In an
unprecedented move, British online gambling company Betfair voided all bets
Friday placed on Thursday’s second-round match at the Prokom Open in Sopot
between the defending champion and No. 4-ranked Davydenko and No. 87-ranked
Martin Vassalo Arguello of

Argentina.

Betfair
said it received about $7 million in bets on the match 10 times the usual
amount and most of the money was on Arguello to win, even after Davydenko won
the first set 6-2.

Arguello
won the second set 6-3 and was leading 2-1 in the third when the Russian
retired. Davydenko said he aggravated a left foot injury in the second set. He
received medical attention from a tournament trainer before deciding to quit.

Betfair,
which has had an agreement with the ATP since 2003 to share information on any
irregular betting activity, said it was concerned with the volume of wagers
coming in on Arguello from the start.

“We
think the market quite clearly wasn’t fair,” Betfair managing director
Mark Davis said. “The prices seemed very odd. As a result, in the interest
of fairness and integrity and in consultation with the ATP, we have decided to
void the market and return all stakes to (bettors).”

It’s the
first time the company has taken such a step in any sport.

Davis said Betfair would turn over its
betting records for the ATP to investigate.

“The
ATP takes issues surrounding gambling extremely seriously,” the men’s tour
said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring our sport remains
corruption free and have strict rules in place governing this area.

“In
addition we have memorandums of understanding with

U.K. and European betting companies
that ensures information pertaining to any ATP Tour match that may look
suspicious, based upon gambling patterns, is shared with us immediately.”

ATP
officials said Friday that Davydenko had left

Poland.

“Normally
I try to fight to the end but it was very painful and I may have done even more
damage by trying to finish the match,” Davydenko said Thursday after the
match. “Since the beginning of Monday I’ve had a problem with my left
toes. Today that became a problem with my foot.”

Since
losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon to Marcos Baghdatis, Davydenko lost
three straight first-round matches to Gael Monfils at the Swiss Open, Florent
Serra at the Dutch Open and Gilles Simon at the Croatia Open
before beating Andrei Pavel, 6-3, 6-4 in the
opening round in Poland.

Arguello
lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday in the quarterfinals to another Argentine player,
Jose Acasuso.

At
Wimbledon in 2006, Betfair reported irregular patterns surrounding a
first-round match between British wild card Richard Bloomfield and Carlos
Berlocq of

Argentina.

Berlocq,
who was ranked 170 places higher than

Bloomfield,
lost 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Most of the bets placed were on Berlocq to lose. However,
no wrongdoing was detected.