/ 2 January 2008

Davydenko fights to restore reputation

Nikolay Davydenko, the world number four from Russia who remains at the centre of an investigation into a betting scandal, on Tuesday described his treatment by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) as ”idiotic”.

Davydenko recently had a fine, for allegedly not trying at the St Petersburg Open, overturned, but begins the new year with the whole betting affair still hanging over his head and no sign of it disappearing.

”It’s taking months and months. And it may take my whole life. As a tennis player I am patient, it doesn’t bother [me],” he said.

”I provided telephone-connection data at the beginning of December and then the ATP wanted data from my wife and brother, which we refused.

”If we allowed that to happen they would be taking data from my grandmother,” Davydenko commented satirically, speaking in German and using a translator.

”It’s a shame that it all started with me and that players like [Potito] Starace get punished as a result,” he added, referring to the fact that the world number 31 from Italy had been obliged to withdraw from the Qatar Open this week, having been suspended for six weeks and fined $30 000 for making five bets two years ago totalling €90.

”It’s all idiotic. But I want to fight to get my reputation back.”

Earlier, at a press conference after the top-seeded Davydenko had begun the year with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Benedikt Borsch, a German qualifier, he rebutted suggestions that a new year could bring a new beginning for him.

”It’s still the same beginning this year,” he said. ”It’s not finished. Now it’s actually worse, but I don’t care. I just concentrate on my tennis and on playing well.

”It was important for me to reach the US Open semifinal [in September], to win a tournament in Moscow, and to come to Shanghai [the ATP Tour year-end finals in November].

”That was the best thing for me. It was good — moments when I was mentally not so great and yet I have been playing tennis well. It’s good for my career.” — Sapa-AFP