Marco Trungelliti has created a stir by revealing his experience with match-fixers in an interview with La Nacion.
The 29-year-old said he turned down an approach from match-fixers in 2015 and told tennis authorities, but his involvement in the investigation that followed has estranged him from the Argentinean tennis community.
Trungelliti fell in the first round of qualifying at this week's event at Buenos Aires, saying that he could not concentrate because of the hostile reception he received at the tournament. It was his first event in his home country since the conflict prompted him and his wife to move to Andorra a few months ago.
It's also why he decided to go public with his story.
"There isn't any sense to keep playing like that," he said.
The formerly little-known Argentine shot to fame at the 2018 French Open, when he drove all night from Barcelona to Paris to get a spot in the draw and won his first round. Now he's stepping back into the limelight in a different way.
Trungelliti told La Nacion that he was approached about a sponsorship meeting in 2015 but instead two men informed him about a match-fixing setup. The men, according to Trungelliti, said players could get a few thousand for fixing a set or match at the Futures level, around $20,000 for Challengers, and $50,000 to $100,000 at the ATP level. They also named eight players who were involved.
Trungelliti described himself as shocked, telling them that he would be away as he was going to Europe to train. He then contacted the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) within the next few months, saying he got some help from his training partner in Switzerland with writing in English.
La Nacion published a copy of the letter, along with other documents from the TIU. Trungelliti said the Unit followed up straightaway, asking for messages and screenshots. He said he cooperated, and also informed them when he heard another two or three times from the men. An Integrity officer advised him not to respond, and suggested he pretend he had forgotten and not understood the vague correspondence if they approached him in person. Trungelliti said he then blocked the men from contacting him.
According to Trungelliti, the Unit identified the cell phone number that had been used for contacting him and linked it to contacts in the phones of some other players.
Trungelliti said he did not hear from the Unit again until he was asked to appear as a witness in the hearings of three other Argentine players in 2017, including Top 100 player Nicolas Kicker. He was identifiable in the video link used during the hearing, and said he was accused of speaking because he had a bad relationship with one of the players.
"They said I had told on them, but that is not true, I told on someone who contacted them," he said.
Trungelliti also described telling his story to other players during the Argentine Davis Cup semifinal tie in 2016, and said he was labeled as a snitch.
"That's where the rumor came from, I was confronted by several players," he said.
According to Trungelliti, there was little change when he arrived back to play in Buenos Aires, and it is now difficult for him to play in Argentina. But he adds he has not ever considered getting involved in fixing.
"When I got offered, I thought, "No, this is not my thing,'" he said. "Most of the players who get approached do not complain because they get into problems."
Though he knows that his decision to talk about the issue will create even more controversy, he is committed to it.
"I feel lighter," he said. "I would really like to give a message, an example, of what should be done. If [a player] gets an offer to fix matches, it has to be rejected.
"The juniors have to know."
Trungelliti is at a career-high No. 114 in the rankings.
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