Austrian player banned for life for match-fixing

Austria’s Daniel Koellerer became the first tennis player

Tuesday to be banned for life for attempting to fix matches.

Koellerer, a former Davis Cup player who once reached No. 55 in

the world rankings, was found guilty of three violations of the

sport’s anti-corruption rules, including ”contriving or attempting

to contrive the outcome of an event.”

The violations occurred between October 2009 and July 2010.

The Tennis Integrity Unit, an anti-corruption group, launched an

investigation on behalf of the International Tennis Federation and

the ATP and WTA tours. It would not specify which matches Koellerer

was found to have manipulated.

Koellerer, who also was fined $100,000, denied the charges and

is considering whether to appeal.

”This is a giant shock … I have been charged with approaching

other players to fix matches,” he told Austrian radio station ORF

Oe3. ”I have been accused of asking other players to lose their

match. That’s total nonsense.”

Koellerer’s manager, Manfred Nareyka, told ORF the player ”has

been found guilty of fixing two matches involving other players and

one match of his own,” but declined to reveal further details.

The Austrian tennis federation said it hadn’t received any

official confirmation regarding the sanctions imposed on Koellerer,

who is currently ranked No. 385.

”If the sanctions … become legal, the federation will take

appropriate measures on national level,” the Austrian body

said.

Koellerer, nicknamed ”Crazy Dani,” turned professional in 2002

and soon was suspended by the ATP twice for bad behavior on court –

in 2004 and ’06. On the second occasion, he was banned for six

months.

In August 2010, Koellerer and Nareyka were placed on two years’

probation after the player’s personal website listed odds for

matches and had links to sites for placing bets. At that time,

Koellerer and Nareyka admitted breaking rules about ”facilitating

betting.”

The tennis anti-corruption group said Tuesday the latest

findings came following a separate investigation.

Koellerer climbed to a career-best No. 55 after reaching the

third round at the 2009 U.S. Open and won six titles on the

lower-ranked Challenger circuit. He never won an ATP Tour

event.

Koellerer played Davis Cup for Austria once but lost his singles

matches during the team’s 3-2 win over Slovakia in 2010.

Tuesday’s findings were considered at an independent

anti-corruption hearing in London on April 27-28, the details of

which will not be released.

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.

Among the lower-ranked players sanctioned by the ATP in recent

years for betting on matches were five Italians – Potito Starace,

Daniele Bracciali, Alessio Di Mauro, Giorgio Galimberti and

Federico Luzzi – who were given suspensions ranging from six weeks

to nine months between 2007-08. Late French player Mathieu

Montcourt was also banned for two months in 2008.

Associated Press Writer Eric Willemsen in Vienna contributed to

this report.