Just over a year ago the Associated Press released a news item that Italian tennis player Daniele Bracciali admitted, partially according to the AP, to match-fixing. Bracciali told a committee during a hearing in November of 2014, in front of judicial authorities. Bracciali and his primary doubles partner Potito Starace faced corruption accusations after authorities intercepted Internet conversations claiming they sold matches. Today, over a year after the AP wire broke the news in Rome, ESPN.com news services are claiming that tennis authorities ignored evidence of top-ranked players fixing matches.
According to ESPN.com and their news service, “For years, tennis authorities have had evidence of widespread match fixing at major tournaments but have done little about the allegations and have allowed top-ranked players believed to be involved to continue playing without any sanctions. Those are the findings of an investigation by BuzzFeed News and the BBC that was released Sunday as play began at the Australian Open.”
The AP wire contributed to the ESPN.com news service story with their past investigations. The ESPN column went on to report that, “Tennis authorities were first warned after a 2008 investigation into the sport found evidence of suspected match fixing at major tournaments including Wimbledon. The match fixing was allegedly orchestrated by gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy and involved prominent players. Since then, according to the report, authorities have been repeatedly warned about a core group of 16 players, all of whom have been ranked in the top 50. None of the players has faced sanctions, and more than half will play in this year’s Australian Open.”
The intercepted comments of Bracciali via the internet, were just part of data that investigators confronted the Italian professional tennis player about, led by Di Martino in Cremona over a year ago. The AP reported that the evidence of the ATP and WTA match fixing came while working through reports from a soccer match-fixing inquiry.
”The reality is it’s the same story as with the football case,” Di Martino said. ”It’s reached a level where it’s all over the world.”
The Last Bet operation has resulted in more than 100 people placed under investigation in Italy since mid-2011, with suspect soccer matches being looked at by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Naples.
ESPN.com went on to suggest that the report didn’t name names. “The report does not name the players whose matches have been tagged for attracting suspicious betting because a direct link between the players and gamblers isn’t proven. But according to the report, the players suspected include a U.S. Open champion and doubles winners at Wimbledon, who have repeatedly been reported for losing matches when highly suspicious bets were placed against them. Also on the list is a top-50 player competing in the Australian Open who has been suspected of repeatedly fixing his first set.”
It is with some surprise that the latest ESPN.com news service report published their findings at the beginning of the first Grand Slam event, the Australian Open, an event that the ABC sister company covers.
“The players were targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 or more per fix, according to the report. Gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy, meanwhile, made thousands of dollars placing what the report characterizes as “highly suspicious bets” on scores of matches, including some at Wimbledon and the French Open, ESPN.com news service reported today.
While the investigation has been going on for years and isn’t a secret among the tennis players or the tennis world in general, you can bet (pun intended) that those in authority at the Aussie Open the next few weeks will be watching their event odds at all of the high handle offshore sportsbooks.
Those awarded a most likely to win title, both the WTA and ATP in Melbourne are listed below. The following charts are the players average offshore and Las Vegas Strip Sportsbook Australian Open Odds to win Outright.
MENS AUSTRALIAN OPEN ODDS TO WIN OUTRIGHT
WOMENS AUSTRALIAN OPEN ODDS TO WIN OUTRIGHT
C Suarez Navarro