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Kafelnikov dismisses match-fixing reports

October 15, 2003 12:39 IST
Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov on Tuesday dismissed any suggestion that he has been involved in match-rigging or any form of gambling in men's tennis.

"I think it's all bullshit, is all I can tell you," Kafelnikov said after his first-round defeat by Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in the Madrid Masters.

Kafelnikov, the former Australian Open and French Open champion, was speaking to reporters after newspaper allegations on Sunday that some players had thrown matches for financial gain.

The report in Britain's Sunday Telegraph highlighted a recent match between Kafelnikov and Spain's Fernando Vicente in Lyon, when betting was suspended six hours before the match was due to start.

According to the Racing Post, a huge worldwide gamble was made on Vicente, who won 6-2 6-3.

No suggestion has been made of any wrongdoing on the part of either player, and the ATP, the governing body of the men's professional tour, went on record this week as saying they were satisfied that both players had given their best.


Kafelnikov said he would consider legal action if he continued to be linked with stories about gambling.

"I understood it (the report) says Kafelnikov has been involved in match-fixing in tennis," the Russian said. "You know it just completely tears me apart.

The Sunday Telegraph report said: "There is no suggestion, however, that either player was involved".

But Kafelnikov added: "When I walked into the locker room all the tennis players

looked at me like I'm the worst enemy of all time.

"Back in my own country, where basically people look at me like I'm a role model, now they look at me like I'm the worst enemy."

Vicente also hit out angrily.

"I want to repeat once more that I am not involved in this betting stuff," Vicente said. "I beat Kafelnikov. I beat him before as well."

The ATP announced on Monday that they had begun an investigation into irregular patterns in internet betting but they specifically ruled out any suggestion of unfair play in the Kafelnikov-Vicente match.

Mark Miles, the ATP chief executive officer, said his organisation was confident, after receiving the standard report of an on-site supervisor, that both players had given their best.

"There was a conclusion on site...that Yevgeny, he might not have played his best tennis, but he was giving a professional effort," Miles said in Madrid on Monday.


Kafelnikov retired from his match against Enqvist on Tuesday because of a foot injury, after losing the first set 6-3.

The Russian, who announced plans to retire last season only to change his mind, hinted strongly that he would call an end to his career this year, after the final Masters Series event of the season in Paris.

"I was trying to give myself another chance to see if I was going to make the right decision," he said. "As I see right now, I'm going to make a right decision after Paris, that's for sure. That's what I want to do."

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