Melbourne - More players revealed
match-fixing approaches on Tuesday as the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament
came under close scrutiny following claims that corruption in tennis was
Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis said he had
been targeted through social media, while a British former Davis Cup player
said he was once offered an envelope stuffed with cash to throw a match.
According to Australian media, police are
also monitoring the first round of the Australian Open, currently under way in
Melbourne, for suspicious results.
The latest developments come after the BBC
and BuzzFeed, citing leaked documents, said 16 players who have reached the top
50 had repeatedly fallen under suspicion without facing action.
"More than half" of the players,
who include singles and doubles Grand Slam champions, are at the Australian
Open in Melbourne, according to BuzzFeed.
The controversy is just the latest to hit
the sports world after allegations of doping cover-ups rocked athletics and
football body FIFA was engulfed by a string of corruption scandals.
On Monday, Serbian world number one Novak
Djokovic detailed a $200 000 match-fixing approach earlier in his career
surrounding a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Tennis authorities strongly denied covering
up any match-fixing evidence, but they are likely to come under increasing
pressure to act against what is a threat to the sport's integrity.
In another indication that match-fixers are
preying on tennis players, 19-year-old Kokkinakis, the world number 86, told
Australia's 3AW that he had been approached through Facebook.
"Just these randoms (people) from
nowhere saying 'I'll pay you this much money to tank a game'. I try and block
it and get rid of that stuff and focus on what you need to do," he said.
Separately, Britain's Arvind Parmar said he
turned down a cash-stuffed envelope which was offered to him an hour before a
match at a Challenger tournament in the Netherlands in 2004.
"I was offered an envelope full of
euros to lose in two sets, only an hour before I was due on court,"
Parmar, 37, told The Times.
"I was approached by a random guy as I
was coming off the practice courts. He showed me the money and said that I had
to lose in two sets.
"He seemed anxious, nervous, and after
a few quick words he began trying to press an envelope stuffed with euros into
"It was a substantial amount of money
- tens of thousands - way more than I would have earned from winning the
tournament and more than most players at that level would make in a year."
An unnamed former tennis trader for a
bookmaking company also told The Times that he suspected matches were fixed
"on a regular basis, particularly towards the end of the season"
because of irregular movements in the betting odds.
Melbourne's The Age newspaper said police,
aware the BBC and BuzzFeed report was about to be released, had quizzed people
within tennis about which first-round matches at the Australian Open might be
The Australian Open's first round,
featuring 256 men's and women's singles players, concludes on Tuesday which is
day two of the tournament at Melbourne Park.