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The day sports as a concept graduated from the world of competition amongst individuals and countries to a show of glitz, glamour and big money, it automatically entered its darkest phase. Amongst all the hard work, sportsman and teams found themselves amongst a series of gambling, betting, fixing and more. Cricket has been one sport where the dark world of fixing has shown its ugly face time and again. However, other sports haven’t lagged far behind either. Tennis being the recent exception. There was a recent investigation into the dark world of Tennis where the possibilities of Fixing were steadily increasing. The results after the investigation has lead to eyebrows frowning as a number of players seem to be involved with match fixing but the Tennis authorities haven’t taken any action against them as of now.  Two major media giants too investigated the matter accusing many of the current and former players of match fixing. They further went on to say that some of the current players of the ongoing Australian Open are also regular match fixers. However, the Tennis authority kept its stand with a cold shoulder to the media houses and their evidences.

Some of the key highlights of these evidences included a US open and Doubles winners who were amongst a core group of 16 other members who have apparently lost games on purpose whenever there has been a hi profile bet placed on these players by the bookies. It further added that a player playing at the Australian open ranked within the top 50 in the world has already planned a match fixed as he is allegedly going to lose the first set. Reports suggest that the approach to the players for fixing such games was primarily happening at hotel rooms and resorts where the players were staying during a tour. It is also suggested that the corrupt bookies are offering  a sum of $50,000 and more to these players to fix games. The reports further suggest that most of these gambling syndicates operate from inside Russia and Italy. It is suspected that these syndicates are also actively fixing games during the Wimbledon and the French Open. The name of more than 70 players have been discovered on a leaked list discovered by the authorities belonging to one of the major bookies in the business of Fixing games in Tennis. Though this has been sent to the Tennis authorities, action against the same is still due. ATP President Chris Karmode spoke to the media during a press conference in Melbourne where he stated that, “The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for they reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated”. He further added that,  “While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information and we always do.”

While top starts like Novak Djokovic spoke to the media stating that fixing and betting is prevalent in the sport as he too had been offered the same early in his career, he also confirmed that this is not a practice which is common amongst the elite stars of the game as there is no real proof of its existence.  The world number one shuttler has been accused by top media houses of throwing away a game back in the year 2007 when he wasn’t a chartbuster as he is today. Even though Djokovic denied all allegations, eyebrows have been frowning amongst a number of fans and critics. World number two tennis star Andy Murray spoke to the media stating that this controversy will make it hard for Djokovic to focus on the game and their rematch in the finals which is crucial for Dokovik to retain his Australian Open Championship. He further added that, “I think for anyone who is innocent, whose name gets talked about with that stuff, then you for sure feel sorry for them if they have done nothing wrong. Especially during an event like this, it’s very distracting. But you also want to be competing in a clean sport as well. So sometimes asking questions, and the players being open about it and responding to it, and the people who are high up in the ATP and the ITF and TIU talking also about it, is also a good thing. If it’s never discussed and nobody ever hears a thing about it, I don’t think that good either. Maybe some people see it’s negative for the sport in some ways. I think some positives can come from it as well, providing the appropriate people act in the right way and are proactive with whatever they are doing moving forward.” 

As per the investigation conducted by media giants buzz feed and BBC, there have been 16 unnamed tennis stars who are regulars with betting and fixing sets if not the match all together. The former world number one who retired after losing to David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open on Monday spoke to the media about the same. He said that, “I think it’s a joke to deal with it. Obviously, yeah, there’s no possible way. I know my name’s now been thrown into it. I don’t think anyone here would think that I’ve done anything corruption or match fixing. It’s just absurd. For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it. Yeah, it’s disappointing. I think throwing my name out there with it makes the whole thing an absolute farce.”

There still seems to be a lot of doubt on whether the allegations made are absolutely just or if there have been legitimate loopholes in the investigation. The lack of proper evidences yet have definitely forced the ATP to take any such string actions against the players named. However, the finger pointing has done a lot of damage overall to the reputation of the game. There will be a number of players under scrutiny for sure post the allegations for quite some time now. As long as there’s no one found guilty, hope will remain. However, if there is someone discovered in the act especially a player or  a top ranked superstar of the game it will only be a shame to the whole Tennis federation of the world.
Shayak Roy

Shayak Roy

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