Without transparency and open discussion tennis match-fixing will prevail.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) might be the secretive investigation body in all of sport. Although its main purpose is to investigate tennis match-fixing, some believe that TIU isn’t fairly effective. Unknown to UK gambling news, the TIU has some very strict confidentiality policies which may rival Swiss banks. Although the TIU does make considerable findings, it is against their policy to make public comments.
●The Tennis Integrity Unit has strict policies preventing public comments
●Dozens of players even some in the top 10 have been involve in match-fixing
●Andy Murray once admitted that “everyone knows that it goes on”
Since its creation in 2008, the TIU have instilled fines, suspension and lifetime bans resulting from some cases where corruption was found. Unfortunately, lower ranked players have been the primary victims of disciplinary action. The TIU’s apparent avoidance of transparency makes some believe they are concealing the problem. Without restructuring matches and the compensation scale we will continue to have scandal.
Findings on Tennis match-fixing and corruption
In 2013, the Mail on Sunday, a British publication featured an article about corruption in tennis as well as tennis match-fixing. A veteran sports investigator revealed some troubling facts about tennis. It was revealed that 12 players ranked in the top 50 have been investigated for their involvement in “suspicious” matches at Wimbledon. In a sport where anyone ranked 11 or lower won’t see USD 1 million in a year, this isn’t surprising.
It was also revealed that dozens of players, even some in the top 10, have been given warnings by investigators after being involved in suspicious matches. The top players in the top tournaments, such as Wimbledon, would hate the negative publicity of scandal. In addition, any changes or adjustments to player victories, prize money as well as ATP or WTA rankings would cost time, energy, money and a loss of reputation.
Gambling news rarely reveals the prejudice of ruling bodies in their punishment of lower players rather than higher players. The anonymous retired official stated that “there were certainly elements within the ruling bodies..that wanted stuff swept under the carpet. But to do the job to the full extent, you need to tackle the higher profile people involved and not just the lesser players. If you don’t want a problem with bigger players, don’t look for it”, otherwise “be aware that it won’t smell sweet.”
For most fans, tennis is one of the easiest sports to ignore scandals in. Most of the players that people watch will not be involved in tennis match-fixing. Even if there were incidents in the lower levels of the majors, most people wouldn’t see them. Ultimately, nobody could credit the victories of Grand Slam winners to lower players who dropped games, sets or matches. Fans can easily separate themselves from corruption and are safe from hearing about it later in the news.
What players have to say about tennis match-fixing
In 2007, the Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal drew more than USD 60 million in wagers. This is an example of “clean” gambling with two competitors whose careers were too illustrious ever to have been involved in tennis match-fixing. On the other hand, Gilles Elseneer, an unknown player whose highest rank was 97 in 2004, said he was offered 140,000 dollars to lose a first round match at Wimbledon. Although he refused, he was only guaranteed USD 45,000 for a first round appearance.
World number three Andy Murray once admitted that “everyone knows that it goes on” and continued to shed more light unto the mind of a journeyman player. “A career lasts probably only 10 or 12 years and you have to make all your money while you’re still playing. There are guys who have to come to tournaments every single week and out of their first-round losers check..about 2,500 euros..they have to pay their air fares.”
Patrick McEnroe, doubles player and brother of the legendary John McEnroe, was reported in the New York Times as saying that tennis is a “very easy game to manipulate” and that he could “throw a match and you’d never know.” One anonymous tour player told ESPN he could be multi-millionaire if he chose to based on information he heard in the locker room. There are plenty of gamblers out there like Dmitry Avilov whose made a career gambling on WTA and who has contacted players such as Ekaterina Bychkova, ranked outside 150.
Players Tomas Berdych and Jan Hernych have admitted to tennis match-fixing attempts in Russia. Austrian player Daniel Kollerer and Serbian player Sergei Krotiouk were banned for life by TIU. Dutch player Yannik Ebbinghaus suffered a suspension and a USD 10,000 fine. A European bookmaker revealed a list to tennis officials that indicated 140 matches that were “suspicious” from 2002 onwards. There’s much happening, but little seen. World number one Novak Djokovic, who was once offered money to “take a dive”, told Reuters “compared to other sports, tennis is still in a very good place.”