Governing body taking action before January’s Australian Open
Tennis Australia ramped up its anti-corruption measures yesterday ahead of the first grand slam of the new season.
It was on the first day of the Australian Open this year that integrity issues in tennis were thrown into the spotlight by explosive allegations made by the BBC and Buzzfeed.
Tennis’ governing bodies responded by announcing an independent review into the sport’s practices, with the panel’s interim report due in the new year.
Tennis Australia’s increased measures include the appointment of two full-time investigators to its National Integrity Unit, anti-corruption officers at all of its professional tournaments and an enhanced education and awareness programme.
It is also increasing prize money at its lower-level events and in Australian Open qualifying and the early rounds.
The main problem with betting-related corruption is at the bottom end of the game, where players struggle to make a legitimate living.
Tennis Australia president Steve Healy said: “Although we have no evidence of widespread corruption in Australian tennis, we have recognised that the potential to corrupt is there and as such we have taken extensive steps to safeguard our sport.
“We made the decision to not just sit back and wait for the Independent Review Panel to hand down their findings but to take immediate action.
“Our sport needs strong measures implemented now and that’s exactly what we are doing.
“We have committed significant funds and resources into strengthening our position now so that we don’t look back in five years and think we could have done more.”
Tennis matches dominate the sporting events flagged up by bookmakers as potentially corrupt.
During the third quarter of 2016, the Tennis Integrity Unit received a total of 96 match alerts, all but two of them on the lower-tier Challenger and Futures tours, taking the annual total so far to 217.
Last week 34 people, including six tennis players, were arrested in Spain on suspicion of match-fixing.