by:NICK ALVARADO/Editorial Assistant
You see it in soccer on numerous occasions and sometimes in cricket.
But now match fixing is rocking the world of tennis and questions fill the press room as to who is involved in the allegations.
To those who don’t know, match-fixing is summarized best as one player losing purposely against another player for earning money. At times, the prize is more than the tournament champion would get. All it takes is one individual approaching a player to see if he or she is willing to take the money and throw the match.
Tennis can be appealing in a gambler’s mind, since it is mostly a one-on-one competition. “The dynamic of the sport pits one individual against another individual,” David Williams, the director of media of the popular gambling site, Ladbrokes, said in an interview with ESPN. “That’s very appealing for customers.”
Brad Gilbert, who has coached several Grand Slam champions such as Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, said in an interview with ESPN that “there’s close to over 100,000 matches from all professional levels, men’s and women’s.”
From the Grand Slams all the way down to the Futures tournament, which is the lowest tier of tennis tournaments, numerous matches across the world are taking place. All it takes is one player to be dishonest, whether it is one point or the entire match. Any player can be targeted, regardless of rank, age, experience and the stage in the career.
It is tempting to see a huge amount of cash being given to you after you have thrown the match. Most players are struggling to fund their careers to get their outfits, equipment, coach, trainer, tournament fees and travel expenses taken care of.
Match-fixing can hurt anyone and can damage a sport’s integrity in a blink of an eye. Roger Federer said in his press conference before his first match at the Australian Open that, “It is super serious and super important to maintain the integrity of our sport.”
In 2007, Novak Djokovic said in his press conference that he received a “proposition,” while at a tournament in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The estimated amount of money that was offered was around $100,000 to $200,000 for a first-round match. “I was not approached directly.” Djokovic said. “I was approached by people working with me at the time. We threw it away, and it didn’t even get to me.”
Betting in tennis has evolved so much that you can bet during a match if a player wins a set, game or even a single point. This has been tagged “in-play betting.”
Keeping integrity in any sport is very important. Betting can be fun, but illegal activity involving the outcome of a match can involve the authorities stepping in. This problem is spreading across the world, and it needs to be stopped. Players’ careers can be damaged, along with their reputation outside the court. Employees who operate betting sites should be able to watch over the suspicious betting that occurs in all tennis matches. Betting on players should be a fun thing to do, for those who are of age, and should not involve someone being behind bars.
Players should also know that the people who approach them should have no way to make contact with the player before a match unless they are hosting a charity event, exhibition match, or a practice session.