The Italian tennis federation has suspended doubles players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace for 40 days as part of their lengthy investigation into match fixing. Starace have been ranked as high as 27 in the world and has won 11 ATP Challenger titles.
Meanwhile, former junior world number 5 Bracciali is a former top 50 singles players and has reached a ranking high of 21 in the doubles. During an investigation into match fixing in football last year, investigators discovered both players' names mentioned during a Skype conversation which talked about fixing matches.
The investigation focuses on two separate matches which alleges that both players tried to fix. The first match in question was the final of the 2011 ATP Casablanca Open between Starace and Pablo Andujar. It was reported that a betting shop owner who was involved in match fixing, told prosecutors that Starace agreed to sell his in final.
In the final he lost 6-2 6-1. Meanwhile Bracciali is accused of arranging a match against Scoville Jenkins at the 2007 ATP Newport Open. The Italian lost 6-2 6-1 in that match. Prosecutors discovered a conversation between Bracciali and an accountant in regards to the matter.
The accountant was arrested by police back in 2011.
Potito Starace maintains his innocence
Despite the evidence brought against him by the Italian prosecution, Potito Starace has maintained his innocence. In November last year he released a statement in which he said that he has "nothing to do with illegal betting".
"I am shocked by the news that continue to go out on my behalf and stunned by the fury towards me. I can not help but reiterate my full, total, absolute non-involvement for what I'm charged.
I find it incredible that anyone would even think that I may sold an ATP final (which I've never won) moreover towards the end of my career.
I repeat: I have nothing to do with illegal betting or the "group of Bologna" . Starace is however yet to make a formal statement concerning his 40 day suspension.
Like Starace, Daniele Bracciali is also yet to make any comment concerning the suspension. Not their first suspension
This is not the first time that the occasional doubles partners have been involved in betting scandals.
In December 2007 Starace was fined £21,400 and banned for six weeks for making five bets in 2005 while Bracciali received a three month suspension and £14,300 fine for making about 50 five-euro bets. They were two of five Italian players to recieve suspensions between 2007-2008.
At the time the Italian tennis federation criticized the ATP for the suspensions as they claimed that the players were being used as "scapegoats". Match in question - Highlights of the 2011 ATP Casablanca final between Potito Starace and Pablo Andujar