The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has revealed that eight unidentified players, among others, who are competing at this year’s Australian Open, have been accused of match fixing.
Leaked files from inside the sport are believed to withhold substantial evidence surrounding the alleged match fixings, whilst statistical analysis of betting activity in 26,000 matches over the last 7 years has also been released.
Reportedly, “Players are being targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 or more pre fix, by corrupt gamblers. Winners of singles and doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments are among the core group’’.
More than 70 are suspected of throwing matches, however the vast majority will not be disciplined as their alleged offences occurred before an anti-corruption rule was established in 2009.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic has stated that he was offered $200,000 to throw a first-round match in Russia. He said “I was approached through people that were working with me at the time, that were on my team. Of course, we threw it away”. Whilst Andy Murray has said that he has never been encouraged to fix a match and has called on the tennis authorities to be “proactive” in their investigations.
None of the players have been announced publically despite some of the world’s top-ranked players remarking that they should be. 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer has said, “I would love to hear names. Then at least its concrete and you can actually debate about it”. Currently there is not enough conclusive evidence to take any cases to court, or to stop a potential libel action.
The ATP acknowledges the fact that their investigations have unveiled rigged matches in previous years, but Executive Chairman Chris Kermode insists that there has been no cover up on their part. Mr. Kermode said “Tennis has invested over $14m to address this issue of corruption and it is constantly being reviewed”.
TNT Sport Billy Rooney