French tennis player Lestienne suspended for betting on matches

London (AFP) –


French tennis player Constant Lestienne has been suspended for seven months and fined $10,000 (8,900 euros, £7,700) for gambling on tennis, the Tennis Integrity Unit announced Wednesday.

The 24-year-old -- presently at a career-high ranking of 164 -- placed bets on 220 tennis matches, none involving him, in a three-year period from February 2012 to June 2015.

The TIU softened the blow by suspending half his period of the ban -- so long as he commits no other offences -- and offered him the olive branch of considering half the fine paid if he cooperates with them.

"A TIU investigation secured evidence to confirm that between February 2012 and June 2015, he (Lestienne) placed bets on 220 tennis matches through online accounts with Betclic and Pari Mutel Ubain," read the TIU statement.

"The investigation was supported by information provided by the Autorité de Regulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL), the French online gambling regulator.

"None of the bets placed involved matches in which Mr Lestienne was playing.

"The suspension applies with immediate effect and means the player is not allowed to compete in, or attend, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport."