Italian prosecutor calls for further investigation into tennis fixing
Italian prosecutor Robert di Martino has said that more tennis players should be investigated for possible links to match-fixing and betting rings.
Speaking to the BBC and BuzzFeed News, di Martino, who has been conducting a two-year inquiry into a suspected match-fixing ring involving Italian players and gamblers, said the names of top players have appeared in evidence seized from gamblers suspected of fixing.
The prosecutor said that the list includes two players that have been ranked in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) top 20.
“Surely if these foreign players were Italian, they would certainly have been at least questioned; they should have provided some explanations,” di Martino said.
The Italian-focused investigation has obtained internet chat logs and recordings of phone calls between players and gamblers, with di Martino saying a number of non-Italian players are mentioned and that the Tennis Integrity Unit (ITU) should investigate further.
Although he would not reveal the identity of the players, he did state that they are “not so-called second-tier tennis players, but also players of some importance”.
Italian players Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali have previously been charged in relation to match-fixing in the sport.
“The international aspect seems more problematic than a situation involving a few Italian players,” di Martino said.
“It would be possible to identify, possibly hit, many foreign players who definitely are part of this system.”
The BBC and BuzzFeed News said they have learned the names of the players contained in di Martino’s files, but have opted not to disclose their identities.
In January, the two news outlets announced they had uncovered files that expose evidence of widespread suspected match-fixing at the top level of tennis.
According to a joint report, over the last decade, 16 players who have ranked in the ATP top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the ITU over suspicions that they had thrown matches.
Related article: BBC, Buzzfeed report uncovers suspected match-fixing in tennis