Monday, 25 October 2010

more dodgy tennis

The ATP have been getting slack on fixed matches this year so it's only fitting that after last week's Janko Tipsarevic fix, we've got another one going on right now in St Petersburg, in front of a huge crowd of about 20 spectators.

Filippo Volandri is obviously supposed to lose and is doing his level best to make sure that happens. He won the first set, yet Gabashvili's price to win the match shortened. Gabashvili then goes down a break in the 2nd set, takes an injury timeout for treatment on his right knee which is now strapped heavily. Volandri makes sure he can't go further ahead by throwing in two timely double-faults to lose his serve. Gabashvili wins the second set, then Volandri hands him a very soft break in the opening game of the third.

At 2-1 in the third set, the Italian conveniently calls out the trainer for treatment on his right arm and pops a pill to make it look like there are reasons for his pathetic tanking. He is now doing everything he can to lose this, deliberate errors, double faults etc... Over £2.3m has now been traded on Betfair on this awful, awful match.

The ATP and their integrity unit will have received warnings about this match while it has been in progress. They'll take a look at it and find some convenient reasons why they can't take any action against the players. Playing in a country (Russia) that probably doesn't have sporting fraud and corruption listed as a crime will be one of those reasons. And both players were injured, blah, blah, blah.... Nothing will be done.

Here's the washup. Whether the sport is actually dirty or not is almost irrelevant - it comes down to the perception. Too many events, played at the wrong time of year, serving no real purpose in the calendar other than to give journeymen a few extra chances to win (or lose) a few matches, only pours fuel on the fire.

The ATP has a real problem on its hands now....

2 comments:

  1. Nice summary of a farce of a match! Just interested in your opinion, do you think the ATP will ever do anything? After all it is only those of us who bet on or follow betting markets that have any idea about the integrity of these matches. The popular tennis media rarely reports them, last week all that happened was Tipsarevic received a bit of abuse on twitter, a small price for those involved in corruption to pay.

    So is it fair to say the ATP has little to gain in taking action and it is best for them to ignore such blatant corruption in minor tournaments between low ranked players? Tennis is a heavily sponsored sport and making an example of even Volandri and Gabashvili would damage the sport too much as the image would be tarnished and people would question the integrity of each and every match in even the big tournaments. By not doing anything all that is happening is a small number of betting people talk about it but the wider public remain oblivious to any fixing.

    At the moment it just seems that the fixers know nothing will happen and are free to carry on, as long as they don't get greedy and select low key matches to take advantage of then they're likely to carry on making a bit of money and getting away with it.

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  2. not much to gain, but as they'll have witnessed with the ICC, incredibly difficult to police and then prosecute. Any sport played in one country (eg a football league) has consistency in the laws - they know exactly where they stand re ability to prosecute, gain access to phone records and which laws they can be charged with breaking. Tennis makes it nigh on impossible because they play in so many countries with different legal systems. It could almost be a hanging offence in one country whereas it's not even a crime in others. Plus you have a global player base with different ethics, morals and respect for law. Many will not give a shit about betting at all, so some may be thinking punters are all going to hell so who cares if I take a little money to screw them over? Players' careers are short, cash in while you can etc....

    Davydenko was a story because he was top 10 and Betfair made history by voiding the market. Davydenko got no penalty at all and Betfair have made their point, they won't do it again.

    It ain't good and all I can see in front of the ATP are brick walls.

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