Friday 07 August 2020

Match fixing in tennis is more prevalent than previously suspected

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Half of the Netherlands’ top 16 tennis players have been approached by match fixers, according to an investigation by the Algemeen Dagblad. In 2015, a government investigation said that only 4% of Dutch players had been offered money to lose a game.

The AD spoke to 14 of the 16 players in the world top 1,000 players, of whom seven said they had been approached.

‘Match fixing 100% happens,’ tennis pro Scott Griekspoor told the newspaper. Dutch Tennis Federation spokesman Robert Jan Schumacher said that the ‘remarkably high number’ of match fixings is shocking.

Bribery occurs not just at the sport’s elite level, but at lower levels too, where the financial rewards may be more alluring to a player. ‘For some players it’s a tempting choice,’ world number 777 player Paul Monteban told the AD. ‘Will I win a doubles tournament for tens or hundreds of euros, or will I sell a match for €5,000?’

Old news

Earlier this year, Dutch number one player Robin Haasse dismissed reports by the BBC and Buzzfeed about systemic match-fixing in the sport as ‘old news’ and ‘more gossip than fact’.

‘I could just as well say that I’ve dated Queen Máxima. Anyone can claim things,’ he told NOP Radio 2.

Haasse’s statements contradict claims he made in 2014, when he told the Volkskrant: ‘I know for sure that match-fixing happens on the ATP Tour, just as tennis is not a drug-free sport.’

The Tennis Integrity Unit, which polices the sport internationally for abuses, is currently investigating three matches reported to it by the Dutch Tennis Federation. The players involved – Thiemo De Bakker, Antal van der Duim, and Boy Westerhof – deny any involvement.

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