Suspicious live bets in a game by a German professional
Status: 6:49 p.m.
According to WELT information, there are currently indications of possible manipulations at the tournament in Wimbledon. Several providers sounded the alarm because of suspicious bets. World tennis cannot get the problem under control.
VMany tennis professionals dream of being part of Wimbledon once in their lives. The tournament is considered to be the most important in the world, and if you come a long way, you can expect fame and big money. For the victory in the final – this Saturday (women) and Sunday (men) – there is two million euros in prize money each. Whoever is eliminated in round one will receive 55,000 euros.
For professionals with criminal energy, however, there is another, easier way to cash in: match fixing. This is the name of the targeted manipulation of games, placing sports bets on bought wins, losses or even just individual points in a match. The phenomenon has threatened the credibility of world tennis for years – hardly any other sport is so badly affected.
According to information from WELT, two games at Wimbledon are now suspected of being manipulated. Several providers sounded the alarm because of conspicuous, abnormal betting stakes. Monitoring firms overseeing the global betting market confirmed the information.
The “International Tennis Integrity Agency” (ITIA), which is to take care of the fight against match fixing on behalf of the world associations and organizers, has corresponding information on the matches. In response to an official request from this editorial team, the ITIA announces that it does not want to comment on individual games or players for “operational reasons”.
As WELT learned, the first suspicious match is a men’s doubles in the first round. Several providers sounded the alarm that the favored duo would be defeated during the game due to the conspicuously high live bets. The duo won the first set, which increased the odds on their own defeat – and then lost the remaining sets. Both the timing of the bets and the amount of money placed indicate irregularities, report people currently dealing with the case.
The second case, for which there is an alarm message, is the game of a German professional. At the end of the second set, according to those involved, bets totaling a five-figure sum were placed on the exact result in the third set with larger providers. There were also special bets on the maximum number of service games in the entire match. Both bets ultimately came true.
The suspicion is directed against the opponent of the German player. When asked, the national tennis association concerned wanted to “neither confirm nor deny” that a professional from his country could be involved.
WELT tried to get in touch with the professionals involved in both parties. Most of the written questions went unanswered. The organizers of the tournament at Wimbledon referred to the ITIA. However, for “operational reasons”, she does not want to comment in more detail. The presumption of innocence applies to all professionals involved.
ITIA has received 34 alerts since January
It is no secret that fraudsters keep manipulating games in world tennis. According to its own information, the ITIA received a total of 34 alarm messages about suspicious games on the entire tour between January and June of this year. Again and again she pronounces bans and fines for professionals who can be shown to have participated in manipulation.
Research by WELT revealed in October 2020 that a women’s doubles at the French Open – one of the four major Grand Slam tournaments in addition to Wimbledon – is suspected of being tampered with. Days after the release, the French police confirmed investigations into organized fraud and corruption. In June 2021, one of the players involved, the Russian Yana Sizikova, was temporarily arrested in Paris because of the case. The investigation continues.
Proof of betting manipulation – specifically, proof of the appointment of specific game outcomes – is a major challenge for investigators worldwide. Even tennis professionals who have received several alarms often do not have to fear any consequences. At the same time, world associations and organizers have been criticized for years for not doing enough against match fixing.
Not only tennis, but the whole sport has long since become the playing field for an unleashed billion dollar business with betting. Experts put the worldwide turnover at around 1.5 trillion euros annually. Mafia groups and syndicates also use match fixing to earn and launder money.