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Italian tennis player banned for betting 11/11/2007
Staff and agencies

Italian tennis player Alessio di Mauro has been banned from tennis for nine months and fined £30,000 for betting on matches.

He becomes the first player to be punished by the ATP's strict anti-corruption rules after an investigation concluded he had bet on tennis, although had not attempted to bet on his own matches or influence their outcome.

The ban comes as the Nikolay Davydenko continues to be investigated for possible match-fixing after unusual betting patterns were discovered when he took on Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland in August.

Di Mauro, who is number 124 in the world, was found guilty following an investigation launched in April. The independent anti-corruption hearing officer, Dr Peter Bratschi, imposed the penalty after he was told that Di Mauro had placed bets on matches from November 2, 2006 to June 12, 2007. The ban will run from Monday until August 12 next year.

"This ruling underlines the ATP's stated policy of not tolerating players, associates or staff gambling on tennis," said Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP's administrator of rules and competition. "The ATP requested that the maximum sentence be imposed and whilst we would have preferred a longer suspension, we recognise that the independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer has to administer sanctions related to the specifics of the case and not as a general prevention.

"This is the first player to be sanctioned under the programme and we found no evidence of any attempt by the player to bet on his own matches. We also found no evidence of any attempt to affect the outcome of any matches."