Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tennis: Corruption? [J. Mark English]

Enough of these stories already! Everywhere you look, there's a sport that has something about it tainted. NBA has a ref fixing games. Baseball has players cheating with steroids. Football has players that are lining up for the county slammers. Hockey...well no one is watching, so who knows.

Next up, tennis! Get a load of this from Breitbart:

Match-fixing, some of which is linked to internet gambling, is not uncommon in professional tennis, according to a damaging report in L'Equipe on Thursday.

Two elite players made the claims, under anonymity, in an interview with the French sports daily claiming they have witnessed matches being "thrown" and that they had personally been offered bribes.

The allegations come in the wake of the controversy surrounding Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, who is the subject of an ATP enquiry.

Davydenko recenty pulled out a match injured on the same day that large sums of money had been bet on his defeat to Argentina's Martin Vassallo Arguello.

Betfair, an internet gambling website, refused to pay out on Davydenko's defeat. Seven million dollars in wagers, 10 times more than normal for such a match, swung to Arguello even after Davydenko won the first set.

The unnamed sources in L'Equipe's report called on the sport's authorities to act, "before things get out of hand".

"I know several players who have been approached, and who had the exact same experience as me," said one player, identified only as Mister B and who claimed he had been approached physically by someone offering him 50,000 dollars to lose a match.

He added: "Not for one second did I believe it was a joke. 50,000 dollars is more than what I would have got for getting to the semi-final in this tournament, and it was tax-free cash.

"I refused his offer straight away, but I was left wondering what direction we're going in."

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