Panel says 'tsunami' of match-fixing plaguing low-level tennis events

A broken tennis racket

Tennis provides a "fertile breeding ground" for breaches of integrity and is engulfed in a "tsunami" of betting-related corruption at some lower levels of the sport due to online gambling.

The panel found no evidence of top-level players being implicated in corruption.

The sport of tennis will have to reinvent itself radically if it is to shut down what one investigator described as a "tsunami" of corruption at the lower levels.

However, the highest level competitions and governing bodies did not escape criticism.

The ATP, the governing body of men's professional tennis, were also found to be guilty of "failing to exhaust potential leads before ending investigations".

The level of suspicious betting alerts rose sharply after the sale of official live scoring data to betting companies in 2012, making tens of thousands of matches available to gamble on.

The four organisations principally responsible for the governance of professional tennis - the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board - appointed an independent review panel in early 2016 to address betting-related and other integrity issues facing the sport, after BuzzFeed and the BBC claimed to have uncovered evidence of suspected match-fixing through a joint investigation.

The panel also called for the TIU to be reorganised and reformed although they launched a new strategy in their war on corruption previous year.

A statement released on behalf of senior figures at the WTA, ATP, ITF, Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open accepted the findings and recognised existing shortcomings.

The review has now recommended that this deal with Sportradar be scrapped at the lower levels of tennis and said that scoreboards, from which match data is sold, should be filmed at all times. We are committed to seizing the opportunity to address these concerns through firm and decisive action.

The report received 3,200 survey responses from players at all levels around the world, of which 464 said they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing.

"These include the removal of opportunities and incentives for breaches in integrity, the establishment of a restructured, more independent Tennis Integrity Unit, enhanced education, expanded rules, and greater co-operation and collaboration with the betting industry and broader sports community".

"Players may be particularly tempted in relation to matches that they meant to "tank" for unrelated reasons - a factor that has been aptly described as the "seeds of corruption" - or in matches that they believe they can win even while contriving to lose games, sets, or points along the way".

"We have to educate the entourage around the juniors from the coach, the parents to the hitting partner and others involved".

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