Goldstein says he was asked to influence match
August 28, 2007
Paul Goldstein admitted he has been approached about influencing the outcome of one of his matches.
By Douglas Robson, Special for USA TODAY
NEW YORK — As men's tennis investigates illegal betting patterns in the sport, a second ATP Tour player Monday admitted being approached to influence a match.
Veteran Paul Goldstein, who retired trailing Sebastian Grosjean 1-6, 1-4 Monday, said the offer happened in the last 18-24 months.
"It was shocking and upsetting," said the 31-year-old American, who felt "uncomfortable" providing any more details.
Asked what he said when approached, the 97th-ranked Goldstein said: "I laughed. It never crossed my mind for a second."
Earlier this month, Michael Llodra of France said he received a phone call at his hotel from an unknown caller asking him to "be relaxed" in his next-day's contest. Llodra, a former top-40 player and two-time Grand Slam champ in doubles, said he hung up.
These revelations come on the heels of an investigation by the ATP into suspicious betting on a match involving Nikolay Davydenko.
A British online gambling company, *******, annulled all wagers on a match in Poland between No. 4 Davydenko and No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello after betting topped $7 million, or more than 10 times the normal amount.
The ATP has since hired the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and two outside experts to help assist with its investigation. ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers also sent a strongly worded email to all the players regarding its no-tolerance policy for gambling.
On Thursday, the USTA announced it had hired a security firm run by a former New York City police commissioner and set up a whistle-blower hotline to forestall any gambling scandal.
Russian Davydenko, who beat 19-year-old Jesse Levine of the USA 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 Monday, again asserted his innocence and said he had yet to be interviewed by the ATP or other investigators. He said he expected that to happen following his participation at an event in Beijing that begins Sept. 10.
ATP spokesman Kris Dent said during the weekend the investigation was "incredibly thorough and comprehensive" and would take "months rather than weeks."
Asked this month if it was a problem in men's tennis, No. 3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia said, "Unfortunately, yes."
Other players acknowledge that in an individual sport such as tennis, where competitors are cramped together in locker rooms and where information flows freely among coaches, trainers, agents and players, it can be hard to police attempts to influence matches.
"I'm sure many fans bet on stuff and they hear inside scoop from some angle," said three-time defending champ Roger Federer.
Unlike the a team sport such as the NBA, which is dealing with its own scandal, tennis players can directly affect matche outcomes.
"We have so many players and some are struggling, it's not a great situation," said former pro Brad Gilbert, who now coaches No. 19 Andy Murray of Britain.
Goldstein expressed a zero-tolerance policy for any match tampering. "It warrants an immediate lifetime suspension," he said.