Andy Murray says
temptation for players to throw matches is too strong as authorities set
Britain's No1 Andy Murray has stated that he
believes players on the circuit are involved in match-fixing. Murray told BBC
Radio Five Live that the financial incentives to cheat are too tempting for
some players in the lower reaches of the professional game. "It doesn't really
surprise me," he said. "Some guys have to come to tournaments like this every
single week and the first-round loser's cheque is only 2,500
(£1,700) and they have got to pay their air fares and it's only a 10 or
12-year career so you have to make all your money while you're still
Murray also raised
concerns about the likelihood of the tennis authorities being able to single
out those players who are guilty of throwing matches, explaining: "it's
difficult to prove if someone has tanked a match or not tried because they can
try their best until the last couple of games of each set and then make some
mistakes, a couple of double faults, and that's it."
to speak out against such goings-on has not been met with great enthusiasm by
the former British tennis player Andrew Castle, who criticised Murray for going
public with his claims. "I think he has been unguarded and naïve. If he
has these claims he should take them to the ATP officials. Tennis has been
thrown into something that doesn't make the game look good."
Another former British player, Barry Cowan, said
that he was also aware of low-paid players being vulnerable to match-fixers. "I
know it does go on, that players are approached. There have been cases where
people have approached players and said 'I'll give you x-amount of money to
throw this match'. It goes on at ATP and Challenger level where if you lose in
the first round you only get $225."
The former British Davis Cup player
Arvind Parmar has also claimed he was offered money to lose a match at a
low-key ATP Challenger event and Gilles Elseneer claimed he was offered
100,000 (£69,000) to lose his first-round match at Wimbledon in
2005 while fellow Belgian Dick Norman revealed he has been asked to provide
in-depth information on other players' fitness.
The ATP have a zero
tolerance policy towards players who get involved in gambling, and are
currently investigating betting patterns during a match in Poland between
Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Davydenko's price drifted out
despite him winning the first set, and he later pulled out of the match through
injury. Davydenko denies any wrongdoing.
The four leading organisations
in professional tennis - the ATP Tour, the Grand Slam Committee, the
International Tennis Federation and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour - have agreed to
set up an international unit to fight against corruption in the sport. Etienne
de Villiers, the executive chairman of the ATP, said: "We see the establishment
of a dedicated global 'Tennis Integrity Unit' as a key priority for the sport
and plans to create one are well advanced."