Ren’s Rants: How the Media Got the Match Fixing Scandal All Wrong


In a recent report, the BBC and Buzzfeed released information claiming that match-fixing in tennis is a problem that has been allowed to run rampant in the sport for nearly two decades. The story was released at the outset of the Australian Open, the year’s first major, and the unofficial “start” of the 2016 season. While all eyes were already on the tennis world, this news sent shock-waves through the industry and created a whirlwind of a news cycle.

First of all, this is a very bad thing for tennis.

Whether the report is true or not, this casts a large, very dark shadow over the game at it’s highest levels. The report claims that sixteen players ranked in the top fifty in the world have been “repeatedly flagged” by the Tennis Integrity Unit for throwing matches. This list of players is alleged to include a US Open Champion. In the past, any rumors of match fixing have come from the lower ranks, where players have much less to lose. In 2011, Daniel Koellerer was banned for life for match-fixing, but you probably haven’t heard his name. If this report proves to be true, it could create a black-spot similar to baseball’s “Steroid Era,” where an asterisk will inevitably be placed next to all players’ achievements, regardless of whether or not they have been directly linked to match-fixing themselves. Seeing as we are nearing the end of a golden era of tennis, this is the last thing that tennis needs. The Tennis Integrity Unit was created to keep things like this in check. The report also claims that the Unit was aware of these allegations, and did nothing about them. If that proves to be true, then the roots of the problem are clearly much deeper, and much more troubling.

The timing is suspect, at best.

As the media has done so many times before, this information was skillfully released at a time when the world is paying attention to the sport. Should this have come out three weeks ago, or three weeks from now, the sports media would have had its eyes on any other number of international sports stories. The problem with this? This story not only overshadows the first major of the year, but it also overshadows the overwhelming good in the sport, and causes a serious distraction for the players. Every player, in every interview, now has to face questions, and give opinions on something that they likely have nothing to do with, and have never even considered. The Australian Open is widely regarded as the most “fun” Major of the year, but this year, it has an air of darkness looming overhead. But that is not the biggest problem.

There is NO PROOF.

The reports allege that the match-fixing is widespread and touches the very highest levels of the sport with at least one major champion being involved. It discounts the integrity of the game and its players in one brushstroke. It upsets fans, and pushes those who are not fans of the sport even further away. What fun is a sport if it’s outcomes are not-to-be-trusted? Does it become a laughing stock like wrestling? These questions have been given validity by these reports, and yet, nothing has been proven. No players have been named. No parties have been charged. And why? Because, there is no proof. The report, while it is now being investigated further, is incapable of naming names because there is no direct link to a single player. So why announce this? Why tarnish the first Slam of the year? Why not hold the report until it actually has some legs, and steps can be taken to clean up the game. Without proof, this report will fall on it’s face, and tennis will continue it’s business as usual. But it’s reputation? That may never recover. And for a lover of the game, to me, that is just not fair. I’ll do my best to forget this, and enjoy watching the world’s best players down under. Hopefully others will do the same.



One thought on “Ren’s Rants: How the Media Got the Match Fixing Scandal All Wrong”

  1. This information was given to media by a whistle blower frustrated that nothing was being done to follow up on these patterns. if tennis wanted to control when the story would get out they should have done more to address the findings. When you say no proof- what they have is odd betting patterns from mysterious sources that come in for the underdog just before a big upset-and apparently some players are repeatedly involved in these matches- not absolute proof but no no proof either- but not naming names does protect players from loss of rep that would be tough to get back-while investigation continues. Novak admits he was approached in 2007 so we know it is being attempted at high levels. we may come to learn that threat of harm to self or family was incentive rather than money- this involves organized crime and bags of money, nothing easily traced or documented so the proof that they do have is impressive. mob figures would all be in jail if it was that easy

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