The sport of tennis has been hit by yet another betting scandal following the fine and suspension of doubles specialists Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak for wagering on matches.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) announced that neither player had wagered on their own matches while an independent hearing officer in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, found no evidence of any intent to affect the outcome of other games.
Czech player Cermak, ranked 34th in doubles, was suspended for ten weeks and fined $15,000 while Mertinak, a Slovakian player ranked 37th in doubles, was suspended for two weeks and fined $3,000. Cermak recently teamed with Rogier Wassen to win the doubles title last week at the Dutch Open while Mertinak partnered with Petr Pala to run out victors at the Croatia Open.
'The ATP's tennis anti-corruption programme is clear that gambling on any form of tennis match will not be tolerated,' said Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice-President for the ATP.
'The programme was introduced to ensure the integrity of our sport and all connected to the tour have a duty and responsibility to ensure that integrity is upheld.'
Five Italians, Alessio Di Mauro, Potito Starace, Daniele Bracciali, Giorgio Galimberti and Federico Luzzi, were earlier banned for betting on tennis matches while the ATP has vowed to step up its fight against corruption. Its board approved new match-fixing sanctions at Wimbledon last month that require players to report any suspicious contact from gambling syndicates within 48 hours of being approached. Players face possible life bans if found guilty of match fixing and are prohibited from betting on any form of tennis along with their families and entourages.