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Questions for Davydenko

August 28, 2007|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Nikolay Davydenko has played in Montreal, Cincinnati and New Haven, Conn., since one of his matches caused a British Internet gambling firm, Betfair, to void all bets.

He's now competing in the U.S. Open. Then he will go to the China Open. Only after all that will Davydenko be interviewed by investigators, more than five weeks after his second-round match against Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot, Poland, on Aug. 2, which prompted the gambling probe.

The fourth-seeded Davydenko, who beat Jesse Levine, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1, here in the first round, said Monday he was not sure whether the interview would be with ATP officials or the outside investigators.

Questions from reporters Monday included whether it was possible others knew he had been hurt before the match, the reaction of other players and even one about the Russian mafia's suspected involvement in tennis.

"First, I don't live in Moscow," Davydenko said. "I live from 15 years old in Germany. I don't know German mafia. . . . You know, like, maybe if you go now to Brooklyn, you find Russian mafia here in New York."

He smiled when saying the words "German mafia." On a serious note, he denied betting -- "never betting in my life" -- later adding, "Fans and everybody see I am like guy, bad guy, who [is] gambling. . . . For me, it's pretty tough."

Action on the Sopot match was particularly heavy, totaling about $7 million, with most of it going against Davydenko even after he won the first set. He retired with a foot injury in the third set.

The ATP has been communicating with players via e-mail, and its executive chairman, Etienne de Villiers, updated them Aug. 17.

"This will not be an overnight investigation," he wrote. "This is a complicated and complex area and there are no shortcuts. That said we remain committed to a thorough, fair and comprehensive investigation."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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