By this time I think we must have heard it all. Match fixing in tennis! Good heavens!
As the great and the good were enjoying their Pimms No.1 with their strawberries and cream at a tenner a throw, there, just below the surface, the sleazebags were at their day jobs.
And that they managed to interest a reputed SIXTEEN out of the top FIFTY players is both disturbing and amazing. Normally these scams are aimed at the lower reaches of games where the players have to scratch around to make a living; not that that excuses it in the least. But you’d have thought that even the 50th ranked tennis player would be well sorted with both the prize and appearance money available these days.
Although it was very early in his career, Novak Djokovic has confirmed that there was an approach to his team to fix a game, the world No.1 claiming he himself rejected £110,000 to lose a match early in his career, so it’s not just baseless rumour but I’d guess that it’s still not widespread.
So time to pre-empt any escalation of what may still be a minor problem by announcing a LIFETIME ban for an offender. But, like every other sport’s governing body, worldwide, the LTA choose to sweep their problems under the mat until, like FIFA and the IAAF they become monsters which eventually devour them.
As long ago as 2008 the tennis authorities were warned about what was going on with bookies refusing to take bets on one very high profile game (one of the then top 10 against number 84 in the world!) where the goings-on were so bizarre as to be almost comical.
And it’s not as if no names are known, either, for it is common knowledge the EIGHT of the 16 prime suspects are playing in this week’s Australian Open!
Time for the powers-that-be to strap on a set of new balls please!