Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chief Chris Kermode has rejected suggestions that tennis authorities have failed to act on match fixing, after an investigation claimed to have secret files exposing the practice in the sport.
Among the allegations made by Buzzfeed News and BBC News are that 16 players have been repeatedly highlighted as having potentially thrown matches, with concerns reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).
Each of the players have been ranked in the top 50 in the world across the past decade and despite several of their matches being deemed suspicious, all have been allowed to continue competing.
The TIU is a joint initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP World Tour and the Women’s Tennis Association.
The investigation, which focuses on men’s tennis, is centered on leaked documents from the sport while analysis of betting activity on 26,000 matches has been carried out.
It stems from the ITU investigating suspicious betting activity related to a game between Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko and Argentina’s Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot in 2007.
Despite both players being cleared, the enquiry is claimed to have looked into the betting patterns of gamblers, linked to particular players, with matches involving 28 players flagged to the authorities as requiring investigation.
It followed evidence of betting syndicates in Russia and Italy, and tennis authorities have been accused of not following up on the findings.
Following his first round match at the Australian Open, defending champion Novak Djokovic revealed he had previously been approached to fix a first round match of a tournament in 2007.
The Serbian, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, was reportedly offered $200,000 (£140,000/€184,000) ahead of the competition in Saint Petersburg but stated the proposal was immediately dismissed.
“I was not approached directly, I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team,” said Djokovic.
“Of course, we threw it away right away, it didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly.
“There was nothing out of it.
“I don’t think the shadow is cast over our sport.
“In contrary, people are talking about names, guessing who these players are, guessing those names.
“But there’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players, for that matter, as long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.”
- By Michael Pavitt, this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz