Tennis’ anti-corruption efforts are questioned by The New York Times even though the Tennis Integrity Unit found “no evidence of corrupt activity” in its investigation into a
mixed doubles match at the Australian Open in January that raised suspicions of possible match fixing— a finding that clears the players involved. “No further action will be taken against any player involved,” said Mark Harrison, a spokesman for the unit, who divulged no further details, including when the investigation had been abandoned.
The match, a first-round encounter pitting David Marrero and Lara Arruabarrena against
Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Hlavackova, had been flagged by bookmakers hours before it began for suspicious betting patterns, with Pinnacle Sports suspending wagering on the match after unusually large and lopsided betting activity on Kubot and Hlavackova. The aggregator site Oddsportal showed that at least 22 other betting companies — including Bovada, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes — also disabled betting on the match in the hours before it began. When the match was played, Kubot and Hlavackova won quickly, 6-0, 6-3. In an interview immediately after the match, Marrero and Arruabarrena both denied
the possibility of any improper influence on the match.
Despite calls for greater transparency, the work of the Tennis Integrity Unit remains opaque. (It acknowledged that there had been an investigation into Marrero only after he told The Wall Street Journal last week that it had been resolved.) Before the Australian Open had ended, an independent review had been commissioned to investigate the effectiveness of tennis’s anti-corruption efforts. In April, the unit published a brief digest of statistics for flagged matches in the first quarter of the year.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.