“The Tennis Integrity Unit’s intention is at all times to protect the identity of witnesses,” the statement said.
“The highest level of integrity”
But in the wake of the criticism Trungelliti has received and the questioning of his motives for cooperating, it wrote the following:
“The TIU unreservedly condemns the treatment received by Mr Trungelliti. And it would like to place on record its appreciation of his support and full compliance with the TACP. The TIU also wishes to confirm the facts surrounding his involvement:
*Mr Trungelliti voluntarily reported a corrupt approach he received from a third party to the TIU, in line with the agreement contained in the TACP, which is signed by all professional tennis players
*At no point has Mr Trungelliti ever been the subject of any investigation, charge or sanction by the TIU
*He received no payment for the information he provided. And he has never requested or been offered any kind of plea bargain or other agreement with the TIU.”
The statement adds that Trungelliti “has acted with the highest level of integrity and with the best interests of the sport in mind. His courageous and principled stand against those who seek to corrupt is to be admired and commended.”
Better late than never. But kind of late. The AP story came out two weeks ago.
He’s the journeyman Argentine player whose road-trip odyssey from Spain to Roland Garros – with his grandma in tow, no less – was one of the feel-good stories at the French Open last year.
A raft of late withdrawals because of the new “get half your prize money” rule meant that there were more lucky loser spots than players still in town to claim them.
And Trungelliti, who had lost in the final round of qualifying but, with a ranking of No. 190 and far down the list felt there was no shot, had gone back to Barcelona.
He made the 10-hour trip back. And then, he beat Bernard Tomic in the first round before losing to eventual semifinalist Marco Cecchinato. The 99,000 Euros he earned no doubt helped subsidize his entire year.
The newspaper got access to the Tennis Integrity Unit’s documents about the case.
Please click on the link and give them the page views they deserve for their painstaking work on this. If your Spanish isn’t up to it, Google Translate does a decent job on this one.
Here’s a brief summary of the events, and the consequences.
Briefcases and envelopes full of cash
Trungelliti – who just turned 29 and currently is at a career-high No. 117 in the singles rankings, wasn’t in a great place four years ago.
He’d been out there grinding for eight years – rarely even getting out of South America. He had finally reached the point where he could squeeze into a couple of Grand Slam qualifying tournaments, but couldn’t make it. It looked like he was going to be a career Challenger player.
And then, through a friend, a “guardian angel” contacted him on Facebook, asking to meet and saying he’d get him a sponsor to help him break that Challenger ceiling.
The two men he met outlined the match-fixing system they had in place. It included secret cell-phone calls and briefcases and envelopes of cash handed over personally.
They gave him eight names of players they had on the plan – from Argentina, and other countries as well.
(Click below for the full story by Sebastian Torok in La Nación)
Reporting to the TIU
Trungelliti left for Europe. And with the help of a friend whose English was better, he alerted the TIU some six weeks later.
There were some contacts with the TIU at first. But nothing happened for two whole years.
As all this was happening, Trungelliti was still trying to compete in tournaments – and was very, very concerned that these guys (who knew where he lived) would retaliate in some way. In Argentina, that’s no irrational concern.
The match-fixers kept in touch. And the information Trungelliti was able to provide led to the investigations and suspensions of several players.
Those included countrymen Federico Coria, Nicolás Kicker and Patricio Heras. Trungelliti ended up having to testify in all three cases during the spring of 2018. That was something he was not prepared for. But he did it, via Skype from Barcelona. He was able to see the faces of the players on trial, at a location in Miami. And they were able to see him.
These three are among the bigger fish that the TIU has managed to nab. They were three viable players – not guys ranked outside the top 1,000 that no one had ever heard of, as is typically the case.
Harassment. Threats. Trungelliti and his wife moved from Barcelona to the tax-free haven of Andorra. They didn’t want to return to Argentina.
But of course, that is the job. Trungelliti makes his living on the dirt. And South America is where the ATP clay-court events are.
The 29-year-old was in Córdoba last week, and was in the qualifying of Buenos Aires this week.
No wild cards in Argentina
It’s probably unrelated, but the Argentine tournaments on the South American swing did him absolutely no favours.
Trungelliti was the highest-ranked Argentine not to get directly into Córdoba. The tournament gave a wild card to Juan Ignacio Londero, ranked just ahead of him and to 36-year-old Carlos Berlocq, a Buenos Aires native ranked some 20 spots behind him.
The third wild card went to a Brazilian teenager named Thiago Seyboth Wild, ranked No. 451.
In Buenos Aires this coming week, Trungelliti again was the highest-ranked Argentine not in the main draw.
One wild card went to David Ferrer. A second went to Canadian up-and-comer Félix Auger-Aliassime. The third went to a 20-year-old Argentine named Francisco Cerundolo who has no ATP ranking.
Cerundolo is a Buenos Aires native who won a pre-qualifying tournament in December to earn the spot.
Seeded in qualifying at both events, Trungelliti lost in the first round in both. Hardly surprising, given all that’s going on.
So he earned a total of $2,725 – and an untold amount of stress – during his trip home.
The irony? It’s entirely likely some of the betting scum lost money on Trungelliti, given he was the favorite in both those matches.
If anything, Trungelliti’s saga is a cautionary tale to any players tempted to turn in the bad guys.
You do the right thing, and it’s going to hang over you for years by the time the authorities get around to doing anything. And you’ll get threatened, for your extra pleasure.