Are tennis players cheats?
An expose by BuzzFeed and the BBC would have us believe so.
An investigation into a match allegedly tanked by Nikolay Davydenko in 2007 against a lower-ranked Argentine opponent, Martin Vassallo Arguello,
uncovered a series of anomalies in games lost by top-ranked players in both men and women’s tennis.
Eight of the top-50 men’s players at the Australian Open are under the scanner.
In the past, match-fixing was felt to be restricted to the lower echelons of the tennis hierarchy where journeymen lost games in exchange for cash which they could hardly hope to see in their journeymen careers.
But now, the scourge of cheating appears to have spread its tentacles all over the pristine sport.
Novak Djokovic—amongst other players—disclosed that he was approached in 2007 but he refused. Roger Federer and Serena Williams have called for names to be revealed.
The investigating team indicts gambling chains across countries such as Russia and Spain. But they have no real luck pinpointing guilty players as they had neither the authority nor permission to access players’ phone and bank records.
There exists no definitive proof of collusion with punters and guilty players can continue to bluster their way through this crisis.
It is up to the tennis authorities to ensure more transparency in the way the game is played.
Perhaps, it would help if more lower-ranked players were able to earn a living from the game. This view is opposed by Federer again who feels that cheats exist at every level and increasing prize money at lower rungs is not the solution.
Whatever the outcome of these new revelations, it is certain that upsets will be looked upon with suspicion in the future and not simply considered a glorious uncertainty of sport.
It’s a pity, really, because everyone loves an underdog.
Players have been calling for a reduction in the number of tournaments they participate in a season. They claim that the unrelenting touring takes a toll on mind, body and spirit and they are unable to be consistent and motivated enough throughout the arduous season.
The authorities would do well to look into these complaints but the players do themselves no favours by opting to partake of the bounties of exhibition games in their off-season.
Greed certainly greases the wheels, one way or the other.
“You haven’t analysed the men’s draw for the US Open. Today’s the 27th and the tournament begins on the 29th.” pestered Otto.
“I know. I’ve just been a little wrapped up in other things.” I reply, tiredly.
“But you have to do the men’s draw. That’s like manna for tennis followers.” insists Otto.
“Oh, I’m sure, they are multiple draw analyses floating around the internet. The smart ones can visit USOpen.org and figure it out themselves.” I attempt to fob off my companion.
“But that’s not the point, is it? It’s good for you too. You can’t follow the US Open without delving into the draw. It’s like going into a dark night without a torch.” Otto is a member of the local debate club.
Daniela Hantuchova: Image via Wikipedia
It’s always difficult coming into the first Grand Slam of the year. It is as though one has to shake off the excesses of the Christmas festivities ,shed the trappings of the successes in the previous year and get down to business on a clean slate. Yet, one has to act as though one were never away from the hurly-burly of the action on court.
Image via Wikipedia
How does it feel to ride the tail of a tiger?
The 10th seed must have felt secure leading 4-3 in the first set, serving for the 8th game.
But Llodra broke back and the scores were soon level at 5-5.
Never discount home advantage. Never discount serve and volley either especially on a super fast hard court.
This is Llodra’s second major upset in recent times. He knocked out Tomas Berdych at the 2010 US Open. This also gives the French a psychological advantage going into the Davis Cup final to be played at Belgrade from December 3 – 5, 2010.