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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 15:01 GMT
Davydenko anger at 'ATP motives'
By Simon Austin

Nikolay Davydenko
Davydenko is unhappy about his treatment by the ATP
Nikolay Davydenko claims he is being victimised by the ATP because they want him out of the world's top 10.

The Russian's defeat by Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Sopot Open last August is being investigated by the governing body of men's tennis.

He told BBC Sport: "Maybe they just found one tennis player who they want to remove from the world's top 10?

"Maybe there is someone below me in the rankings who is more popular and they want to increase his popularity?"

He added: "Maybe I am just not that popular being number four in the world? Someone is trying to increase someone else's popularity."

But Etienne de Villiers, the chief executive of the ATP, described the Russian's claims as "fanciful".

Etienne de Villiers
I can understand his frustration (but) our only agenda is to protect the integrity of tennis

Etienne de Villiers
ATP chief executive

"We are not investigating either player - we've never ever said this is about Davydenko or Arguello," De Villiers told BBC Sport.

"We said this is about an irregular betting pattern and we need to get to the bottom of it."

Gambling company Betfair voided all wagers on Davydenko's second-round match against Arguello in Poland last August because of irregular betting patterns.

The Russian was ranked four in the world as opposed to his opponent's 87, yet his odds started to lengthen considerably after he won the first set 6-2.

He lost the second set 6-3 and was trailing 2-1 in the third when he withdrew with a foot injury.

BBC Sport has been told that nine Russian account holders with Betfair stood to make about 750,000 from an Arguello victory.

Davydenko vigorously denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

He told BBC Sport: "People think that just because I am rated number five in the world then I can't lose to someone who is rated 100.

Nikolay Davydenko
If you are hurt, you withdraw, but I do not know how to not play in a match

Nikolay Davydenko

"Anything can happen to me. I can just have a bad match or I can be injured and lose the match.

"When I see a player who is tired or in pain or maybe just doesn't want to play, I can understand that - he is not a robot.

"I understand that he can't play in the match, he can withdraw. That's his business. If he is tired he withdraws this week and will try to do better the next.

"I do not think that any of this has anything to do with betting. If you take all the matches I played and lost to those rated 100 and below, should this also be suspicious?

"I have already lost to these players before while being in top five or top four. It happened last year and the year before."

The 26-year-old says he is angry about his treatment at the hands of the ATP since Sopot.

606: DEBATE

In September, he was fined for not trying during a match against Marin Cilic at the St Petersburg Open, but this was subsequently overturned on appeal.

Davydenko is also frustrated that the ATP investigation into the match against Arguello is still ongoing.

"It makes me angry, because it takes so long," he said.

"I can't understand what they want from me - I have given them everything, all the information.

"When will this end? I do not have any trust in the ATP."

The ATP requested Davydenko's phone records when he was playing at the US Open last Autumn.

He initially refused to hand them over, because "I was playing at a very important tournament and they only gave me a week to do it", but did comply in early December.

Now ATP investigators have requested the phone records of Davydenko's wife, Irina, and his brother and coach Eduard.

The duo have been given a deadline of 15 business days after Davydenko's last match at this month's Australian Open.

Davydenko is reported to be determined to dig his heels in and resist the latest request, saying: "If we allowed that to happen, they would be taking data from my grandmother".

ATP chief De Villiers said the reluctance of Davydenko and his entourage to hand over phone records allied with the Russian's complaints that the investigation was taking too long amounted to "a paradox".

"If you want to get to understand what happened, you use all the information you could possibly have," De Villiers said.

"Obtaining the records of players and their entourage is written into our rules.

"I can understand his frustration (but) our only agenda is to protect the integrity of tennis.

"It would be irresponsible of us not to be thorough, comprehensive and fair. That's the only thing we're trying to do here."

The world number four insists he would not even know how to throw a match.

"I have never done it and I do not know how to," he said.

"I know that if you are hurt, you withdraw, but I do not know how to not play in a match.

"It wouldn't be easy, because being the fifth in the world it is not easy to lose to someone who is ranked 100th."



SEE ALSO
Davydenko fined for poor effort
26 Oct 07 |  Tennis
Davydenko faces betting inquiry
27 Aug 07 |  Tennis
Wimbledon's forgotten man
28 Jun 07 |  Tennis


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