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Montcourt hits out at betting fine

FRANCE'S Mathieu Montcourt called the ATP's decision to fine him US$12,000 for gambling a total of US$192 on other players' matches "ridiculous" on Sunday.

Although he was cleared of influencing the outcome of any matches, the 24-year-old will also have to serve a five-week ban from July for breaching the ATP's anti-corruption laws.

"In my case, it was in 2005. I bet on 20 or 25 players. The biggest bet was, I think US$3, and I lost US$36, which is, to my point, ridiculous," Montcourt told a news conference after reaching the second round of the French Open.

"Everybody is laughing so I don't think this is only my opinion. There is no comparison between placing 20 bets on (Roger) Federer, on (Maria) Sharapova, on (Andre) Agassi since I don't have any influence on them."

Although players on the tour have to sign a document confirming they will not break any ATP rules, Montcourt said the laws were not very clear when he first turned professional.

Corruption in the sport came under the spotlight in 2007 when a match in Poland between Russia's Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vasallo Arguello of Argentina was reported for irregular betting patterns. Both players were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Since then a number of players have been fined and banned for betting on matches dating back many years.

"The penalty for me is too big, that's for sure," said the 125th-ranked Montcourt, whose career earnings add up to US$327,000. "There was a rule, but it was in the rule book, page 136 in English, which is a very big book.

"For a player like me to have a US$12,000 fine is a very big penalty. They just want to make an example with (me)."

Montcourt said his plight was similar to that of fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who has been provisionally suspended from the tour after testing positive for cocaine.

"They just want to make an example ... and with the doping, like cocaine. Like with the case of Gasquet. I can't talk about him but the cocaine, they never proved that there is an impact with the performance," he added.


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