Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Place your bets! Or don't.

Looks like the ATP's been busy with their all-encompassing gambling probe. This week, two doubles players, Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak, (Oh, no! Not those two!!) were busted for betting on matches. It wasn't on their own matches though, which could have actually worked out for them, if they had bet on themselves. Both men just won in separate doubles tournaments. Cermak, especially, will have to hold on to the memory of that win for, oh, about 10 weeks (the length of his suspension) and will have to pay out $15,000 in penalty. Mertinak's on punishment for 2 weeks and is now $3,000 lighter. Good work, ATP!
Which brings me to something that's been in my bonnet for some time. How is that Nikolay Davydenko investigation going? Do tell. Because when the betting irregularities were noticed in the Poland tournament LAST AUGUST, it created a lot of negative publicity for Davydenko. So much so that two umpires chose to cite him for not trying hard enough on separate occasions during matches. And yet, no verdict.
Look, if he's guilty, he's tarnished a great sport and brought a lot of honest, talented athletes under the magnifying glass. If Davydenko's guilty, then he should have the book thrown at him, and he shouldn't even be allowed to take a job as a pro at a Sopot club teaching preschoolers. If he's guilty, the closest he should ever get to another tennis racquet is when he's stocking them at the Walmart.
If he's not, then the ATP needs to get on with it and say so already. How fair is it that this guy has to work under a cloud of suspicion? Obviously, the ATP's hard at work catching other gambling offenders. But nothing major yet on the guy who (allegedly) started it all?
Say you work at a bank. One day, about $5,000 goes missing, and you are under suspicion because it was your shift (or whatever reason). Your boss tells you -- and everyone else -- that you are under suspicion and being investigated. For the next year, you go to work, and your fellow employees are looking sideways at you. You open a cash drawer, and everyone stops to stare. You've not been fired, though, or directly accused. Meanwhile, the bank is addressing all other safety concerns, catching other people in the act, but your case has not been settled. How long would you hang around?


R.C. French said...

You're right about Davydenko, they should come to a conclusion already. Maybe there's a hard boiled investigator somewhere, who's like, give me one more week, I am THIS CLOSE to busting this thing wide open.

van said...

Hey, did you two see the story a few weeks ago where Davydenko offered the idea that maybe somebody picked up on him talking to his camp while he was being examined? I could see that being the case. Here's a link:


Naf said...

Yeah, Rowan, can't you just see rumpled ol' Columbo gimping around outside Davydenko's house, going, "One more thing ..."?
Van, I did see that story. It's a possibility, I guess. Part of me thinks it's more of a possibility than Davydenko being crooked. But why would you say you're thinking of retiring in a match out loud -- in a stadium --anyway? On the other hand, this is a hard-working player who's out there practically every week. I would just love to see how this shakes out.