Alessio di Mauro was suspended for nine months yesterday for betting on tennis matches, becoming the first player to be sanctioned under the ATP's new anti-corruption rules.
The 124th-ranked Italian was also fined US$60,000 after being found guilty of making 120 bets with an online bookmaker from Nov. 2 last year to June 12 this year.
Di Mauro, who faced a maximum penalty of three years, is banned from tomorrow to Aug. 12 next year.
The investigation found that none of the bets were on his matches or that any results were affected.
"This does underline our policy of players and staff wagering on tennis," ATP president Etienne de Villiers said. "If we do not have a sport with integrity, we do not have a sport. We recognized in 2003 the threat of online betting. We take this really seriously."
In 2003, the ATP signed an agreement with online betting company Betfair to share information on suspicious matches.
De Villiers said that a new rule requiring players to report any attempt to fix a match within 48 hours of being contacted will be passed at an ATP board meeting on Thursday.
The head of the ATP's new anti-corruption body will be named from the three remaining candidates at the same board meeting.
"Do I believe we have a corruption problem? No, I don't," De Villiers said. "We will do anything we can to deal with this threat."
The 30-year-old Di Mauro has a 5-10 record this year and is 16-35 overall. He has earned US$130,915 in prize money.
Di Mauro's season highlight was reaching the final of a clay-court tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February after which the Sicilian reached a career-high ranking of No. 68.
Di Mauro's coach, Fabio Rizzo, told Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this week that Di Mauro was an avid online gambler but never bet on his own matches or cheated.
"He didn't know about the ban on players betting on their own sport," Rizzo said.