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Match-fixing claims stain tennis

December 18, 2007

A match between world number four Nikolay Davydenko and lowly ranked Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland in August was voided by British online betting exchange Betfair because of unusual betting patterns, raising suspicions of match-fixing.

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    Russian Davydenko, who retired hurt from the match, denies any involvement. But since then, a procession of male players, including Wimbledon doubles champion Michael Llodra, have said they were offered money to throw matches. All added they had rebuffed the offers.

    For Davydenko, who usually struggles to get any global exposure or even a shirt sponsor despite his high ranking, being in the spotlight proved to be an uncomfortable experience.

    "I am disappointed because I'm a top player and people are talking (about it) not only in Russia, in my country, (but) also talking everywhere in the world," he said.

    Tennis great Billie Jean King said the threat of match-fixing was one of the pitfalls of modern sport.

    "People follow the money in sports. In the '60s nobody cared because there wasn't any money," the American said.

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