Russia’s former women’s world number one Dinara Safina has blasted allegations of match-fixing in tennis as “absurd”.
An investigation by the BBC and Buzzfeed claimed that 16 players, ranked in the top 50 in the world across the past decade, have been repeatedly flagged as having potentially thrown matches.
It was also alleged that the players were allowed to continue playing despite reports being made to the Tennis Integrity Unit, a joint initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP World Tour and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
The 29-year-old Safina, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, however, dismissed the investigation which was said to be based on leaked documents.
She followed in the footsteps of International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Shamil Tarpischev, President of the Russian Tennis Federation and coach of the country’s Davis Cup team, who dismissed the revelations due to a “lack of evidence”.
“I do not know why British media kicked up a row,” Safina told Russian news agency TASS.
“It seems that they are living in some sort of a cycle and have an urge of coming up with something scandalous once in half a year.
“Perhaps, they [BBC] were in need to improve their ratings.
“However, accusations of match-fixing against leading tennis players are totally absurd.
“This is an individual sport and everyone wants to win.
“No-one wants to take the risk, not mentioning if you come from the Top 100.
“If you get caught, it is the end of your career.
“We were prohibited from even talking to bookmakers.
“In WTA we were told that anyone caught would be immediately disqualified.
“This is why we were literately recoiled from the bookmakers.
“I am sure that the scandal flared up out of nothing and appeared only for the sake of hype.”
The allegations were revealed last month on the eve of the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Safina, the sister of former men’s number one Marit Safin, a two-time Grand Slam winner, retired from tennis in May 2014 following back problems.
She had been absent from the sport since the 2011 Madrid Open and left tennis having been a runner-up in three Grand Slam finals, twice at the French Open and once in Australia.
- By Dan Palmer
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz