Game, Set, a Fixed Match? Three Wimbledon Matches and One French Open Match Under Investigation
he Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) is investigating three Wimbledon matches and one French Open match for potential match-fixing. Two of the Wimbledon matches were in the qualifying tournament, with the third being in the main draw. These four matches all looked suspicious due to abnormal betting patterns. Sports betting companies and regulators tipped off the TIU. The alerts are not evidence of any match-fixing, however they are an indicator for further investigation. The TIU has to look at what other conditions were in play, such as weather, if a player was suffering from an injury or if there was incorrect odds-setting. This year’s Wimbledon had 10 early retirements during the men’s and women’s singles which caused some controversy, but none of the three Wimbledon matches being investigated relate to this.
The alerts for Grand Slam matches is atypical. The TIU has received 83 notifications for the first half of 2017, a decrease from the 121 at this time last year. Between April and June of this year, for the 31,281 professional matches played there were 53 alerts, or 0.169 percent of matches. A majority of these alerts were registered in low tier matches that received little attention and included players deep in the rankings.
In 2016, BuzzFeed and BBC did a joint investigation into match-fixing. Their investigation was a catalyst to the TIU doubling its personnel. The exhaustive investigation found that 16 players ranked in the top 50 over the last decade, including Grand Slam winners, were repeatedly flagged for match-fixing by the TIU. A former tennis executive admitted to match-fixing being a problem since tennis is an easy sport to throw a match. BuzzFeed and BBC unveiled documents showing Russia, northern Italy and Sicily as hotbeds for bets on allegedly fixed matches. BuzzFeed and BBC accused tennis authorities of covering up the match-fixing, even when presented with overwhelming evidence.