From feel good story to Pariah - Marco Trungelliti shunned by tour for exposing match fixing.

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
This is incredibly heartbreaking.

Last year, the feel good story of the 2018 French Open was Marco Trungelliti who after losing in qualifying got a last-minute spot in the main draw as a lucky loser ranked #190 by claiming it after driving back to Paris from Barcelona with his mother and his 88-year-old grandmother in the back seat. He upset Bernard Tomic in the first round and was the talk of the French Open with his incredible story of driving over 600 miles to sign up for the lucky loser spot.

Here's where the sad part comes in though:
Two weeks ago, Trungelliti was back in Paris. This time he was alone, physically and emotionally broken after a year of isolation and ostracization. He said he knew the reception at the this year’s tournament would not be as warm as last year’s when he read a tweet that said, “The snitch is coming to Paris.”

In the days before Trungelliti’s race to Paris last year, a fellow Argentine player had been sent away: Nicolás Kicker, ranked 84th, had been convicted of match fixing, the highest-ranked player to be found guilty of such an offense. He would eventually be banned for three years. In the following weeks, two more Argentine players, Federico Coria and Patricio Heras, also were issued bans in cases related to match fixing.

All three were punished, in part, because of testimony from Trungelliti.

His role as a whistle-blower was known to the accused because the Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport’s watchdog, did not obscure his identity in the hearings of the other players. As the players’ fates became clear, Trungelliti said, many in the Argentine tennis community turned cold toward him.

“The rest of the players were not shaking my hand anymore, not looking me in the face,” he said in an interview in Paris. “A couple of coaches as well.”

Trungelliti became involved in the cases in 2015, when — as anti-corruption rules require him to do — he reported to the T.I.U. an offer by a would-be fixer who had contacted him on Facebook.

“He obviously asked me to keep quiet, but I can’t because I hate this,” Trungelliti wrote in his initial communication to the T.I.U.

His three compatriots also had been contacted by one of the people who approached Trungelliti (Coria was not accused of fixing a match but of failing to report an approach).

“He was sending me messages from his personal phone,” Trungelliti said. “It was the same phone that he was having contact with Kicker, Coria and Heras. It was pretty stupid.”


Last year Nicolás Kicker, ranked 84th, became the highest-ranked tennis player to be found guilty of a match-fixing offense.

Until he became an outcast, though, Trungelliti thought more players followed anti-corruption protocols as he had. (Six players, including Coria, were convicted of failing to report a corrupt approach in 2018.)

“Now I realize it wasn’t like that,” he said. “Sometimes I can understand, but I don’t accept it. Because as long as you keep quiet, you are allowing that system to keep living. You keep feeding it.”

Some assumed Trungelliti had cooperated with the investigation because the T.I.U. had evidence against him, or because he had been paid for the information. He denied both accusations, and repeatedly asked the T.I.U. to publicly clear him, but for months it declined to do so.

“That’s the moment where I expected that the T.I.U. or someone would say something about it — but they didn’t,” Trungelliti said. “And it just became bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Feeling increasingly uncomfortable around many from his home country, Trungelliti, who lives in Andorra, skipped the string of Challenger events in Latin America he normally would have played at the end of last season.

He first described his involvement in the case and his subsequent treatment in February in an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nación.

Even after that, he said, he felt little support in tennis. Sergiy Stakhovsky, the ATP player council representative serving players of Trungelliti’s ranking tier, responded to an article about Trungelliti with the comment, “
Thin line between whistle-blower and snitch, all depends who is the judge.”

To Trungelliti’s further dismay, no players, particularly the top ones who he knows could be influential, have publicly condemned Stakhovsky’s assessment. At the French Open, Stakhovsky declined an interview request and later did not answer a question about Trungelliti.

“We are again in the same situation, with the silence, the silence, the silence, the silence,” Trungelliti said. “As long as we keep being like that, it’s not going to change. Unless the whole world doesn’t want it to change? Maybe that’s the other option: They’re O.K. that the corruption system is running at the same time as the supposedly good system.”

On May 1, four days after Stakhovsky’s comment, a T.I.U. news release said that it “condemns the treatment received by Mr. Trungelliti and would like to place on record its appreciation of his support and full compliance with the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program,” and clarified that he had not been paid for his information or been investigated himself.

The Challenger tour is fertile soil for match fixing, Trungelliti and others acknowledge, because prize money is meager and expenses can soar. To struggling players in financial distress, offers of tens of thousands of dollars to fix a single match can be tantalizing.

Trungelliti, currently ranked 139th, said that if he stopped playing now, he would have no money to show for his career. His career prize money of $847,612 is prominently listed on his profile on the ATP website; the various expenses he has had to deduct out of that sum — for coaching, travel, equipment — are less known, to his frustration.

“I remember when I was 300th or something like that, I went to a clinic in my hometown, and one little guy, 8 years old, came to me and said, ‘Can you give me your racket?’ ” Trungelliti said. “I said no. He said: ‘Why? You have a lot of money. You should give it to me!’

“People think I have a lot of money, when it’s completely different.”

Money, however, is not the only explanation Trungelliti gives for why the Challenger level has become susceptible to corruption. He noted that the women’s tour, which has even less prize money, also has less match fixing.

“Maybe the girls are better than us,” he said, laughing. “It’s the only way to think. If they need more money than us, and they don’t fix matches, here the problem is the ethics in men’s tennis more than any other thing.”

When he lost in the first round of qualifying at Roland Garros, Trungelliti said, the pain in his back was compounded by the stress he has felt.

“Now I understand more why people don’t make any reports,” he said.

Mark Harrison, a spokesman for the T.I.U., said Thursday that the unit received “excellent cooperation” from players, officials and others in reporting knowledge or suspicion of corrupt activity. He called Trungelliti’s situation “exceptional.”

“The great majority of people who support our work are not affected in the way he has been,” Harrison said.

Trungelliti’s fellow Argentine player Leonardo Mayer said he hoped more people would support his colleague because “it’s not easy to be in his shoes.”

“It’s very difficult to give an opinion on that, but I think what he did is what someone should do,” Mayer said. “It’s very difficult to do what he did, because you have to be very courageous to do something like that.”

Trungelliti said that sometimes he did not know why he continued playing a sport that has brought him little but anguish, but he said that he hoped his experience would improve the path for others.

“Somebody put on Twitter that for me it was a career suicide decision to make a report,” he said. “But for me I have no problem, because for me it was clear: I could kill my career 700 times rather than be part of that system. For many players, it seems absolutely the opposite.

“At the end, at one point, you have to choose: You are part of the system, or you are not. I chose the obvious one for me; there was not even 1 percent chance to take the other path. But I thought it was going to be much different than it is now. I don’t regret it — I just thought it was going to be different. I know now that I’m on my own.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/sports/tennis/marco-trungelliti-french-open.html
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Very sad. Thanks for bringing it up here.
I remembered there was a thread where Trungelliti came out saying match fixing was an open secret but felt it deserved a thread with this new article, especially a year on from his big break. Truly awful that he's been shunned completely. Sad that Stakhovsky led the way, not sure how that terrible human still has a seat on the council.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
I remembered there was a thread where Trungelliti came out saying match fixing was an open secret but felt it deserved a thread with this new article, especially a year on from his big break. Truly awful that he's been shunned completely. Sad that Stakhovsky led the way, not sure how that terrible human still has a seat on the council.
I think Stak had poor choice of words. It was later clarified that he was not against Trungelleti. He wanted to say some person can be considered a whistle blower for bringing out something while he can be called a snitch by others for the very same stuff.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
are there no protections for whistle blowing in tennis, like anti retaliatory r.ules this is the kind of stuff journalists should be reporting on in the sport.
 
I remembered there was a thread where Trungelliti came out saying match fixing was an open secret but felt it deserved a thread with this new article, especially a year on from his big break. Truly awful that he's been shunned completely. Sad that Stakhovsky led the way, not sure how that terrible human still has a seat on the council.
Awful man.
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
I think Stak had poor choice of words. It was later clarified that he was not against Trungelleti. He wanted to say some person can be considered a whistle blower for bringing out something while he can be called a snitch by others for the very same stuff.
Honestly think that was more about him covering his tracks.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
I think match fixing is a fact of life at the Challenger level. I also think the ATP / ITF does little to stop it in reality and in truth, they’d rather have players not say anything.

When ATP / ITF started selling match data to betting sites, they could easily foresee the consequences. They don’t care
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
I think match fixing is a fact of life at the Challenger level. I also think the ATP / ITF does little to stop it in reality and in truth, they’d rather have players not say anything.

When ATP / ITF started selling match data to betting sites, they could easily foresee the consequences. They don’t care
Sad but true. Just can’t understand why it took them so long to say that the reason Marco was helping them wasn’t because it was some sort of plea deal and he was under investigation but that he’s just a decent guy. Shows that they don’t really care about it overall.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
Sad but true. Just can’t understand why it took them so long to say that the reason Marco was helping them wasn’t because it was some sort of plea deal and he was under investigation but that he’s just a decent guy. Shows that they don’t really care about it overall.
I think this case shows what’s really going on at the Challenger level. Both from the perspective of players and the “authorities “. It just a fact of life they’d like to keep quiet

That said, I don’t think match fixing is a problem at the Tour level
 

70後

Hall of Fame
This part :

"Trungelliti became involved in the cases in 2015, when — as anti-corruption rules require him to do — he reported to the T.I.U. an offer by a would-be fixer who had contacted him on Facebook.

“He obviously asked me to keep quiet, but I can’t because I hate this,” Trungelliti wrote in his initial communication to the T.I.U.

His three compatriots also had been contacted by one of the people who approached Trungelliti (Coria was not accused of fixing a match but of failing to report an approach).

“He was sending me messages from his personal phone,” Trungelliti said. “It was the same phone that he was having contact with Kicker, Coria and Heras. It was pretty stupid.”"


In other words, he had absolutely no choice in the matter.
 

George Turner

Hall of Fame
This story is no surprise. It actually reflects real life.

When you call out corrupt, lying people, the people who follow them like sheep will turn on you, like you're the bad guy. Many of us will have experienced this and its far worse when money is involved.

Remember lance Armstrong, how he had the whole of cycling rigged in his drugs scheme, anyone who called him out would be ruined. It"s exactly the same principle.

Sadly, it's life.
 

70後

Hall of Fame
This story is no surprise. It actually reflects real life.

When you call out corrupt, lying people, the people who follow them like sheep will turn on you, like you're the bad guy. Many of us will have experienced this and its far worse when money is involved.

Remember lance Armstrong, how he had the whole of cycling rigged in his drugs scheme, anyone who called him out would be ruined. It"s exactly the same principle.

Sadly, it's life.
And whoever doesn't treat him as an outcast will themselves be treated as an outcast for breaking from the group. Nobody dares.


So sad.
 

Luka888

Professional
It is sad but it's happening and it will keep happening unless lower ranked players can make more money. I'm not sure what the council is doing about it.

The whole system is just not working. I'd go as far as the ATP&ITF should give a monthly salary to top 300 excluding top 50 players, enough to cover their traveling expenses, food and hotels. There is so much money in tennis and they can afford it. So, if you are in top 300 and keep your ranking there, you don't need to worry. So basically you will have 250 players on a payroll.

Gosh, I think I'm a communist, lol.
 

George Turner

Hall of Fame
It is sad but it's happening and it will keep happening unless lower ranked players can make more money. I'm not sure what the council is doing about it.

The whole system is just not working. I'd go as far as the ATP&ITF should give a monthly salary to top 300 excluding top 50 players, enough to cover their traveling expenses, food and hotels. There is so much money in tennis and they can afford it. So, if you are in top 300 and keep your ranking there, you don't need to worry. So basically you will have 250 players on a payroll.

Gosh, I think I'm a communist, lol.
"Top 50" is not really practical, with how quickly rankings chance. Heck Dimitrov is barely top 50 atm. Bernie is outside there and he has millions.

A more realistic scenario would simply be to pay travelling expenses for challenger tier events. Also boost the prize money for 250 tier events, given those challenger players a further boost when trying to break onto the main tour.
 

Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
I feel like the NYT and it's crack team of tennis reporters :rolleyes: are late to this story, it being reported as least as far back as February.

https://tennis.life/2019/02/10/trungelliti-takes-on-the-match-fixers/

In any case, Stakhovsky is a long-time, confirmed DB and if I had to guess a player that was a match-fixer or future match-fixer I'd probably go with him though it presumes he would have the necessary skill to do it with some subtlety, which he doesn't.
 
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Mainad

Bionic Poster
I remembered there was a thread where Trungelliti came out saying match fixing was an open secret but felt it deserved a thread with this new article, especially a year on from his big break. Truly awful that he's been shunned completely. Sad that Stakhovsky led the way, not sure how that terrible human still has a seat on the council.
What a complete and absolute assho1e Stakhovsky is. To hell with him. Shame on the other players that not more of them are openly rallying to Marco's side. Where is the President of the Players' Council when you need him or Fed and Rafa (both keeping their heads down and playing possum as usual?). Why are they not voicing their open support? If they did that, who would care what insignificant nobodies like Stakhovsky and his cronies have to say??? :mad:
 

Luka888

Professional
"Top 50" is not really practical, with how quickly rankings chance. Heck Dimitrov is barely top 50 atm. Bernie is outside there and he has millions.

A more realistic scenario would simply be to pay travelling expenses for challenger tier events. Also boost the prize money for 250 tier events, given those challenger players a further boost when trying to break onto the main tour.
Well, it was just the idea. They would need to work out the details. I do know it could be done. Again pay them the traveling expenses, food and hotels. Nothing too fancy. That should do it. I'm not sure if we are talking about top 500, top 300 but I think it could work out. I agree with you regarding challengers too. They can work out different pay-grades for different tournaments etc.

Then if a player wins something back he give a certain percent of that prize money back. I'm just throwing some ideas.
 
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Stretchy Man

Professional
Is tennis match fixing that big a deal? It only affects low level matches. The dirty players get their money while the clean players end up with a higher ranking. Everyone wins. Marco could be upsetting a lot of people. Especially players like Coria who arguably don't deserve a match fixing conviction.
 

Siewi

New User
I am a tad late to the party, but -- as someone who admires Marco -- it was good to see that at least McEnroe came to his defence:

Anyway, I think this episode is just one of multiple signs that mass commercialisation kills sport and sportsmanship in particular. Tennis is increasingly becoming just like the rest of silly celebrity sports with all these stupid GOAT debates, obnoxious public etc. I hoped this would never happen to tennis, but I fear it is only downhill from here.
 

pj80

Hall of Fame
What a complete and absolute assho1e Stakhovsky is. To hell with him. Shame on the other players that not more of them are openly rallying to Marco's side. Where is the President of the Players' Council when you need him or Fed and Rafa (both keeping their heads down and playing possum as usual?). Why are they not voicing their open support? If they did that, who would care what insignificant nobodies like Stakhovsky and his cronies have to say??? :mad:
Stakhovsky outplayed a well playing Federer on Wimbledon grass
 

ChrisG

Professional
The system is crooked, ATP/ ITF has no interest in changing things by allowing more money to the lower events. They want big money for the big players who attract the sponsors.
And why bother ? betting corruption would do the job of giving low tier players the money to keep on grinding.
As I said, the system is really efficient. It saddens me to see the sport hitting new lows with this kind of stories, and it’s a shame so few players opens up about it.
instead of endless charities who are non tennis related, big 3 and all the top players should care about their fellow colleagues
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
What a complete and absolute assho1e Stakhovsky is. To hell with him. Shame on the other players that not more of them are openly rallying to Marco's side. Where is the President of the Players' Council when you need him or Fed and Rafa (both keeping their heads down and playing possum as usual?). Why are they not voicing their open support? If they did that, who would care what insignificant nobodies like Stakhovsky and his cronies have to say??? :mad:
Yeah the Big 3 should have shown their support for what Marco did. Pretty lame of them.
 
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