June 21, 2008

Eight Wimbledon Matches Might've Been Tanked in 2007: The Sunday Times of London serves up a scorcher: "Eight matches at Wimbledon have been reported to the tennis authorities on suspicion that their results have been fixed by professional gambling syndicates." Hints are dropped, but no players are named. Five of the losers are playing in this year's men's singles.

posted by rcade to tennis at 06:20 PM - 9 comments

Oh, man. This is so not what tennis needs. If there's anything to this at all, or even if this stuff isn't demonstrably proven false, this is not going to be good for anyone involved with the sport.

posted by chicobangs at 01:38 AM on June 22, 2008

I've been wondering why tennis would be vulnerable to match fixing. Is it because the players come from all over the world and it only takes convincing one person to make it happen (unlike, say, the brilliant Black Sox scandal where half the team knew and they leaked like a sieve)? Is it short careers and the lack of earning potential for the players outside the top 10? Do they play too many tournaments with too much travel? I would've thought that tennis, given the nature of the game and its rep, wouldn't get a rep like boxing.

posted by rcade at 06:44 AM on June 22, 2008

You pretty much nailed it, rcade...it only takes one person to throw a match. Furthermore, it's not like it has to be the finals; it's just as easy to make money by fixing some low-profile second-round match that nobody is watching, which makes the effort a bit easier to hide.

posted by TheQatarian at 07:15 AM on June 22, 2008

ESPN ran an investigation of Davydenko's notorious match earlier this year. The linked write-up names a few names. There are a lot of Eastern Europeans in the lower tiers of top-flight tennis. There is a lot of money floating around Eastern Europe.

posted by etagloh at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2008

I would imagine it's easy to fix with less that win/loss outcomes, as well. Get a player ranked in, say, the 30s, who's expected to steamroll a player a hundred or more places below, bet on the higher ranked player losing the first set instead of winning in straight sets. The player doesn't have to lose, just drop a set, much easier to convince them that's OK, but the smaller upset still provides the ability to make some money.

posted by rodgerd at 04:44 PM on June 22, 2008

Yes, if one can place a bet on the outcome of individual sets, then fixing a match would be very easy. Looking at the earnings of tennis players this year, less than 200 earn $100,000. Given that, I absolutely can believe that the mob can influence more than a handful of players.

posted by dviking at 06:38 PM on June 22, 2008

Well, the only question now is which film studio will be first to get their tennis cheating movie to the theaters; disgraced tennis star violates probation on match fixing charges, sent to prison and forced to play mixed doubles game of inmates vs guards- "The Longest Serve"

posted by irunfromclones at 12:59 PM on June 23, 2008

why tennis would be vulnerable to match fixing I recently read a decent mystery where the protagonist's main gig is finding horse races out in the middle of nowhere in Australia where an unknown horse is a sure thing (or near to). The opening round of a tennis match is a perfect place for this kind of thing given the asymmetry of information. At anything past #100, I'd imagine bettors are going almost entirely on rank and maybe a bit of info on who's better on what surface. #150 in the world losing to #220 isn't going to set off any alarms.

posted by yerfatma at 11:04 AM on June 24, 2008

And Davydenko gets thumped in the first round...

posted by etagloh at 12:12 PM on June 24, 2008

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