Tennis match fixing allegations

Apparently several current and former players are implicated in it.

Is there any fucking sport which is honest anymore.

Probably not.

It’s a question of incentives, really. If there’s a billion dollar betting market in a particular sport, then there are clear incentives to get players to fix matches. If there’s no realistic prospect of getting caught, there’s no strong (external) incentive for players not to. If your earnings will peak in your twenties/early thirties and then drop dramatically, there’s a strong incentive to cash in. And if you’re good enough to get to the big tournaments but not good enough to win them, (as seems to be the case with the tennis scandal) then there’s further incentive to cash in.

Many people, offered the opportunity to fix, will say no. But a few will respond to the incentives and say yes. And then the culture starts to change, and even if you say no you know that others are saying yes (some of them people you know and like) so you maybe don’t rush to report a subtle approach. And then the senior players are involved, so the junior ones lack role models and the culture shifts some more.

Similar incentives and cultural issues apply to doping, of course.

A will to investigate, accuse, convict and punish on behalf of the controlling authorities is the only thing that can change the culture, by changing the incentives. But corruption, of course, can happen at every level - as the IAAF have demonstrated so well.

This hasn’t been helped by the way betting markets have developed with technology either, I suspect. Much like cricket, there’s a number of individual events that can happen (and therefore be bet on) in each match. It wouldn’t surprise me if matches were being fixed in events where prize money is not significant but I suspect that there may be even more spot fixing events happening (serve a fault on the 3rd point in your 4th service game of the match, the over/under on double faults in your match is 3.5, etc). It will be interesting to see what the extent of this is, as it unravels.

Everyone is supposed to be trying to win, so the only way a player can fix a match is to play worse than their best. If enough other players are throwing their matches then your results will be better than they would be in a strictly honest system.

It’s interesting to me that there is so much credit going to Buzzfeed news.

The same Buzzfeed that will predict with sex position I like most based on my astrological sign is getting credence for a hard-hitting news story.

Good for them too because when Buzzfeed does run news it’s generally well-researched and well-sourced, it’s just interesting to me that so many news organizations are continuing to give them credit vs. just mentioning the BBC

BBC, that’s the people who do top gear, right?

This is the second joint Buzzfeed/BBC investigation in recent months - the other being into a dodgy UK childrens charity. Buzzfeed poached Janine Gibson as UK editor-in-chief from the Guardian, and she’s got a strong journalistic background (Pulitzer for Snowden etc), so they are definitely heading in that direction.

There’s an impressive level of denial coming from senior players, according to this Guardian article. My favourite is Djokovic saying that he was offered £200K to throw a match 10 years ago, but it couldn’t possibly happen to young players now because systems. Otherwise, the general reaction is that if no names are mentioned then there’s no reason to worry.

(I’ve got some sympathy because it is difficult to investigate a claim that nameless people have been doing something, but the analysis of betting patterns and outcomes is very strong - enough to suggest that more needs to be done.)

Generally of course, it’s not the top players who’ll be approached, as they’ve got the incentive to win as much as possible. It’s the ones ranked, say 50-20, who are good - I mean, really, unbelievably, fanstastically good at tennis - but have to got to a place where they already expect to get beaten in big tournaments. And who may think they might as well get paid for that.

Not any more they don’t!

With respect that is not borne out by actual history. Its a streotype which prevents people from looking at corruipitbles. Of the Pakistani trio in 2010, Salman Butt was captain and earned several million USD the previous year through playing, sponsorships and endorsements. While Kamran Akmal who was at the time unsure of a place in the side, (to general surprise) was one of the players who refused point blank (the other was Afridi). Cronje was the games most successful captain when he went under.
Plus its not like players only fix matches by losing; in football Marseilles in the 1990’s bought off opponents, while Juventus and AC Milan had own selected referees in 2006.

Of course character plays a part, and you’re right that it would be naive to suppose that anybody is immune. But I do think that the people most likely to be tempted to take a dive are the ones who wouldn’t be throwing away a Grand Slam or world number (n<5) status in doing so. Cricketers play so many games, and few of those in knock-out formats, that throwing one won’t necessarily impact on earnings and status. But my feeling is it’s a bit different in tennis - that matches on the tour count for a lot more in terms of ranking and status so are less easily thrown.

That’s borne out by the claim that the tennis players under the spotlight are ranked 50-20 rather than top 10.

A grand slam winner has been implicated.

Sure. Every so often, there’s an upset and someone unexpected wins a grand slam. It doesn’t make them a nailed down top 10 player.

In further news, Murray has found his inner Scots Presbyterian and said (*contra *Djokovich and Federer) that human nature is essentially sinful: thus people cheat in all walks of life and there’s no reason to believe tennis is any different. Also, that if you’re against match-fixing - and have banned players from associating with betting companies - then it looks a bit weird if your tournament is sponsored by a betting company. Also, betting companies probably have much better information than they’re letting on and they should be more active about sharing this with regulators.

I seriously doubt it.

If my memory serves (HA!) there was a tennis fixing scandal years ago. I cannot remember specifics, and I am too jaded to go look, but there was some heavy, suspicious betting patterns that raised eyebrows before,

The idea that the money is too good these days to suspect sports fixing is just nonsensical. I don’t believe there IS a magic number that would keep a match honest. The ONLY thing that works is personal integrity. But that only works on some people. And if you, as an honest person, see a dishonest person getting rich by (possibly) fixing the outcome, and no one seems to notice (or care), more and more people will start going to the dark side.

I think it would be quite possible for most games to be fixed, in ANY sport. As long as gambling is permitted on a sport, there will be incentives for players to control the outcome (and make a profit from it).

Seriously, the WWF (now WWE) was fixed, most people knew it, and didn’t care. It is entertainment.

Nothing would sueprise me any longer. When money is involved, people do what is in the best interest of themselves. Is anyone REALLY shocked the AFC Championship is between Brady and Manning? How much more money will the NFL see because it is NE vs. Denver, compared to Pittsburgh vs. KC?

I am not saying it is all scripted. All I am saying is it wouldn’t surprise me.

This analysis doesn’t work here. The NFL reliably acts in its own best financial interests, which are quite obviously better served by presenting a sport that doesn’t involve match-fixing (most especially at a high level).


The is common usage these days, but I’ve long been bothered by shortening “winner of a grand slam tournament” to “grand slam winner”.

The latter properly requires winning each of the 4 major tournaments in a career - or, more strictly, in one year (e.g. Rod Laver, 1969).

I concede that if the implicated player turns out to be Federer or Nadal (which heaven forbid), “grand slam winner” would be accurate - each has a career grand slam.


Well, yes they still do. Just not with Clarkson, May and Hammond. :smiley:

Chris Evans will be hosting, and it looks like Sabine Schmitz (of Nuerburgring fame) may be one of the other presenters.

I hadn’t heard about Sabine. That’s encouraging news, she’s nuts (in a good way).

My Favorite bit of match fixing was that of Ryan Tandy an Australian rugby league player. In the 21 August 2010 Canterbury-Bankstown match against the North Queensland Cowboys Tandy placed bets on the first scoring play of the match to be a Cowboys penalty goal. Tandy gave away possession to the Cowboys in the opening moments of the match by knocking on, and then gave away a penalty in front of the posts. These actions put the Cowboys in a position where a penalty goal was a likely outcome. However, the Cowboys decided on an attacking option and scored a try instead so the bets were lost.

However the entire betting option was only considered a novelty by bookmakers and was only offered for the occasional gambler who may have $10 on it for an interest. Neither Tandy nor his conspirators knew enough to figure this out so they bet huge amounts of money. The bookmakers thus knew about the fix before the game even started.

Tandy was later banned for life.

Yeah, you can look at it this way. Or, you can look at it pragmatically.

There is so much money involved. And if there is one thing the NFL has shown, it will do anything and everything for ONE MORE DOLLAR.