MIAMI (CN) – Four tennis pros say the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour discriminated in suspending them for Internet gambling because the tour needed scapegoats after the media focused on the issue.
They also say an online sports booker provided the ATP with information about them in exchange for sponsorship of ATP events.
Giorgio Galimberti, Alessio Di Mauro, Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali, all of Italy, admit they gambled, but say it was for small stakes. They say the ATP Tour is using them to impress tennis fans with the ATP’s so-called anti-corruption program.
The pros say co-defendant Interwetten, a self-proclaimed “leading provider of online sport betting” provided the ATP information on its members’ betting history in exchange for sponsorship of ATP events.
Interwetten recently sponsored the Interwetten Austrian Open Kitzbuhel.
The pros say the ATP’s official rulebook is “terse, vague and ambiguous,” written only in English, and the players are not given time to read it before they sign its consent form.
Betting on tennis matches made international headlines after the Aug. 2, 2007 match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Davydenko, ranked No. 5, withdrew in the third set, giving the match to Arguello, ranked No. 87. Heavy betting on the relatively obscure match led to widespread suspicion and an investigation, though both players were cleared of wrongdoing by the ATP.
The pros are represented in Federal Court by Robert Elgidely with Genovese Joblove & Battista.