ATP say Davydenko investigation will take time

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SHANGHAI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Nikolay Davydenko, under investigation over a betting scandal, faces a long wait to clear his name, ATP Tour chief Etienne de Villiers said here today Men's tennis has signalled its intent to get tough on match-fixing and gambling with a new integrity unit soon to be set up to investigate accusations of corruption.

Its launch cannot come soon enough for Davydenko, who has been under almost constant scrutiny since a match he was involved in during August was the subject of irregular betting patterns.

''We've not finished the investigation,'' de Villiers told an invited group of journalists. ''Until we have finished we are not prepared to rule anyone in or rule anyone out.

''When we asked the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) and two former investigators from Scotland Yard to get involved, they said don't expect a quick result. We have to look at a wide web.'' De Villiers added: ''I'm sorry we can't give you a quick result. This is not Hollywood. This is reality. It's complicated, it's time-consuming. We need to be thorough and methodical.'' Italy's Alessio Di Mauro was banned for nine months earlier this month after becoming the first professional to be caught in the ATP's crackdown on betting.

Under pressure to act, the tour has approved a new 48-hour rule under which players who fail to report information relevant to the tour's anti-corruption code could face sanctions.

Davydenko, playing at this week's season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, has been sharply critical of the ATP's chairman in the past.

But De Villiers insisted the Russian was not a marked man.

''We never made this the Davydenko investigation. All Betfair said was that the betting patterns were suspicious and they were not prepared to pay out on the bet,'' he said.

''This man's reputation is now in play. You're innocent until proven guilty. But if you're not obeying the rules, expect to be punished. We need to connect the dots.'' REUTERS HSB VC1853

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