0

Federer says he asked IMG executive about bets

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

PARIS -- Roger Federer has denied any involvement in alleged high-stakes gambling by an executive from his management company.

The Swiss tennis star said Wednesday at the Paris Masters that he contacted IMG executive Ted Forstmann after learning of a lawsuit in which Forstmann is accused of betting millions on sporting events, including the 2007 French Open final that Federer lost to Rafael Nadal.

"I reached out to him just to know everything about the case," Federer said. "That's all I did. I gave a straight answer at Shanghai (Masters) about what I thought about it, but it's disappointing that my name gets thrown around for something I have no control over."

Forstmann, whose company also owns and operates some professional tennis tournaments, does not represent Federer. Tony Godsick of IMG is his agent.

"Ted Forstmann is not my agent, he is head of IMG. That's clear. He owns the company, and I'm sure he learned his lesson through that," Federer said. "But he also gave me straight answers about what's going on and that's OK for me."

Forstmann is being sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Agate Printing Inc. for fraud, interference with contract and breach of contract. In the complaint, which seeks extensive damages for lost business Forstmann allegedly promised, Agate Printing executive Jim Agate claims to have served as a conduit for Forstmann's gambling.

Forstmann acknowledged betting on Federer and gambling on sports in general, but rejected Agate's claim that he increased bets on Federer after consulting with him.

"I might have called Roger before the match in 2007," Forstmann told the website The Daily Beast. "But Roger is a buddy of mine, and all I would be doing is wishing him luck."

Agate's lawsuit claims that Forstmann bet $5,000 on Federer to win the 2006 French Open final, a match he also lost to Nadal, and the following year placed bets of $22,000 and $11,000 on Federer to win on June 9, the day before the men's final.

Although Grand Slam tennis tournaments have rules barring players from gambling on matches, there are no rules prohibiting agents or other members of player entourages from betting on tennis. In 2007, there also was no rule barring players providing "insider information" to a gambler, although that was changed in January 2009 amid concerns about potential match-fixing.

"I just think that's a bad thing that people who might be closer to the game are betting on our sport," Federer said. "But you can't control, sometimes, what other people do. All I can do, myself and my team, is make sure we don't do anything that's not allowed."