Bookies Find 48 Suspicious Tennis Matches in First Three Months of Year

Posted on: April 25, 2016, 05:34h. 

Last updated on: April 25, 2016, 05:34h.

48 suspicious tennis matches reported
Australian pro Nick Lindhal, who was found to have thrown matches by an Australian Court. The Tennis Integrity Unit says suspicious incidents are on the rise. (Image: radionz.co.nz)

The Tennis Integrity Unit has been notified by the gambling industry of 48 instances of suspicious betting patterns on matches in the first quarter of the year alone, the anti-corruption body said this week.

The TIU itself has come under criticism for a perceived failure to investigate and sanction players who have been suspected of throwing matches. The tennis world was rocked by scandal in January when documents passed to the BBC and Buzzfeed News by anonymous whistleblowers reported that 16 top-level players have been strongly suspected of rigging matches over the past ten years.

According to the two news outlets, the players, who had all ranked in the top 50 in the world and even included Grand Slam title winners, had been repeatedly flagged to the TIU, which had apparently failed to take any action.

Increase on Last Year

As such, the unit has come under increasing pressure to offer more transparency on it methods and processes, and the announcement this week is the first of a new series of quarterly public briefings on the progression of its investigations.

The unit said that the 48 alerts represented an increase on the same period last year when just 31 suspicious instances were reported. However, it emphasized that these figures represent just 0.2 percent of the 24,110 matches that were played during the three months of 2016.

“Every alert received by the TIU is assessed and followed up as an indicator that something inappropriate may have happened,” added the unit, although it decline to say whether the bookies’ tip-offs had led to any concrete evidence of corruption.

Suspect Match at Australian Open

Of the 48 matches under investigation, said the TIU, one occurred at the Australian Open and one on the WTA Tour, while the rest took place at Challengers or Futures tournaments, which would appear to confirm the idea that most corruption takes place in lower-level matches.

It also provided an update on the progress of a major review of anti-corruption measures within the sport, launched by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the World Tennis Association, the International Tennis Federation and the Grand Slam Board in the wake of the BBC/Buzzfeed leak. The review is also examining the efficacy of the TIU itself.

“Under the leadership of Adam Lewis QC, the work of the panel to date has included preliminary meetings with the sport’s governing bodies, collation of core documents and contact with persons of interest to obtain relevant information,” said the TIU.

“In addition, the panel has identified a list of issues and areas of inquiry and begun a further schedule of interviews and research.”