Tennis

Banned Serb tennis player denies match-fixing

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP)

The Serbian tennis player who received a life ban for attempting to fix matches denied the accusations and said Tuesday he will appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Tennis Integrity Unit found 659th-ranked David Savic guilty Saturday and fined him $100,000 for three violations of the sport's international anti-corruption program.

The 26-year-old Savic said in a written statement that he was set up by a ''current top player'' who told the TIU that Savic asked him to fix a match in exchange for money.

''That is an absolute lie,'' Savic said.

In the statement, Savic said that he was friends with the unidentified top player during their junior days, and that he has not spoken or contacted him in the past 11 years. He said that he could not reveal the name of the player because a judge ordered the TIU ruling be kept confidential.

''I was obviously chosen as a scapegoat,'' Savic said. ''Without any concrete evidence, I became a drastic example for other players.''

Savic is the second tennis player to get a lifetime ban. In May, Austrian player Daniel Koellerer was banned for match-fixing.

Savic reached a career best 363rd in the rankings in 2009 and never played above the challenger circuit.

The anti-corruption hearing was held on Sept. 12 in London and details will not be made public, the TIU said.

The TIU has been set up on behalf of the International Tennis Federation and the ATP and WTA Tours.

Koellerer, a former Davis Cup player who once ranked 55th, is fighting his ban that resulted from violations between October 2009 and July 2010.

Five Italians were among lower-ranked players sanctioned by the ATP in recent years for betting on matches - receiving suspensions ranging from six weeks to nine months between 2007-08. French player Mathieu Montcourt also was banned for two months in 2008.

Russian player Nikolay Davydenko was cleared in 2008 of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the ATP into suspicious betting patterns surrounding his match against 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello the previous year.

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