World tennis was rocked this week when a player from South America got candid and revealed that match fixing was a common occurrence on the circuit and it wasn’t a secret as both players and the authorities that governed the game were aware of this but chose to do nothing about it. Revelations of match fixing first came to light in a BBC article that followed a Buzzfeed and BBC investigation.
The player who chose to be anonymous stated in an exclusive interview with the BBC that match fixing wasn’t limited to low rank players but some of the top players in the world were also a part of the racket. He went on to state that are three big groups who control match betting in tennis and they have a specific set of individuals who approach players with match fixing offers.
There are a number of players within the circuit who have connections with these three groups and help bring in more players into the match fixing racket. Players who sign up to fix matches are paid strictly in cash so that there is no financial trail to link they to these match fixing allegations.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) did not deny that match fixing could be taking place in tennis but did not agree with the players comments that match fixing was being kept under the radar on purpose. The TIU has asked this anonymous player to come forward and share the names and information he has in order for these issues to be addressed.
Some of the top players in the world including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were not surprised over these allegations and want the authorities to take action and clean up the sport. Djokovic, the number one player in the world, reportedly admitted that early in his career he was offered £110,000 to concede a match, an offer he declined, noting that there is “no real proof” of match fixing involving the ‘elite’ of tennis.
In a statement on espn.go.com, Roger Federer said “I would love to hear names. Then, at least, it’s concrete stuff, and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which slam? It’s so all-over-the-place. It’s nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation. Like I said, it’s super serious, and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport. So how high up does it go?”
The player who hails from South America also stated that players who have won Grand Slams in the past are involved in match fixing and he was forced to believe this after one of the ‘fixers’ told him the results of the next two tournaments well in advance and how the match would turn out. The results turned out exactly as predicted and forced him to believe that fixing was happening even at the highest level according to the BBC article.
The player also alleged that the authorities not only knew who were the players involved but could stop match fixing in tennis easily if they decided to but that’s something they don’t want to address for now. There are now reports that this matter will now be brought before the UK Parliament so that it can be deal with appropriately.