​Notes on a Tennis Scandal

On January 17 Buzzfeed and BBC broke a story alleging evidence of match fixing by sixteen top 50 players over the past decades and that tennis authorities have ignored this evidence. Following this startling announcement, the tennis world and tennis fans have been reeling.
 
The story is based on investigations into highly suspicious betting patterns on matches from bank accounts linked to Russian and Italian syndicates. After a suspicious match in 2007, the ATP and ITF launched investigations. After review, the ITF created a new Tennis Integrity Unity to address these issues in the future. However, according to the Buzzfeed/BBC article, this unit has not acted aggressively concerning match fixing in the intervening years despite information that has come from foreign police, gambling regulators, betting experts, and nonprofit betting watchdogs.
 
When the article broke, some called it a fabrication and others asked that the sixteen players be they mentioned be identified. It has certainly turned into a distraction from the ongoing Australian Open tournament. Because of the one-on-one nature of tennis, it is particularly susceptible to match-fixing or charges of match-fixing since only the players themselves know exactly how well they are playing or feeling during a match.
 
If even a small portion of matches were fixed, it would be a sad revelation and possibly cast a pall over the entire sport, similar to how doping has affected cycling. More important than trying to guess and out players, which can turn into malicious slandering, a closer look should be given to the Tennis Integrity Unit’s work. They need to make sure that—even if the proceedings of their specific investigations cannot be made public—that the process of how they determine to investigate and what steps they take are given greater transparency to assure us fans that the sport is free from corruption.
 
Check out the original Buzzfeed article and BBC piece.
Read about the response among players here.

Let us know what you think about these reports and allegations in the comments.

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