x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Federer voices match-fixing concerns

As tennis authorities look into betting patterns on a Wimbledon match, the world No 2 admits he fears corruption may be having an impact on top-level tennis.

Roger Federer revealed his concern that corruption may be having an impact on top-level tennis. And the Swiss superstar has urged the sport's governing bodies to show no mercy if any cheating of the system can be proven. It has emerged tennis authorities are looking into betting patterns on a Wimbledon match. The online bookmaker Betfair alerted the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) after £700,000 was gambled on the first-round contest in which Austrian number 26 seed Jurgen Melzer beat American Wayne Odesnik by three sets to love. Some bookmakers suspended betting on the match as the wagers flooded in. But it is believed the surge in betting could have been down to rumours circulating that Odesnik was suffering from an injury. Federer was asked for his view on the overall suspicious betting issue and said: "We don't talk about it in the locker room. But it's happened more frequently than we talk about it. "If it's happening or not, we are suspecting. We're not sure. But, of course, it has no place in tennis. "But it's hard to control. But I'm sure the ATP (Association of Tennis Professional) and the ITF (International Tennis Federation), we're trying our best to catch those guys - if there are any out there. "I think we should have massive bans on those who get caught so they get really scared of doing it. "We talk about it in the Player Council, Player Board. "Those are things definitely we're trying to fight. We have a good set-up, so we can't avoid that there are some funny results sometimes here and there. That doesn't mean it's really happening." The world number two was also asked whether it would be difficult to control a flow of information reaching bookmakers. "I don't know. I've never been approached," Federer said. "I never knew it existed until a few years ago when all of a sudden I heard about it. So I've been shocked to hear it. "Well, we always hope that the players also want the best for the sport. That is, at the end of the day, what it comes down to." American Odesnik, ranked 109 in the world, was not expected to win against Melzer even if fully fit. Before the match the odds on a 3-0 win went from even money to 1-5. Odesnik, 23, said last night: "I have no idea about this. I don't know why someone would bet for me to lose. This was my first tournament on grass this season. "Yesterday, I had a little bit of a strain in my thigh but it was not a question of not being able to play." He said he would not do anything to jeopardise his future. And speaking before a practice session today, Melzer, who is not under suspicion, said: "I played my match. I won in three sets. I didn't have any knowledge of any betting. I was surprised this morning to read it in the papers. "Even if he was fit, I would beat him on three sets on grass. "The odds would be that I would beat him in three sets. Any set I would lose would be a surprise. "I'm now in a strange position. I'm getting asked questions about something I have nothing to do with. "It's bad for tennis."

Odesnik, 23, said last night: "I have no idea about this. I don't know why someone would bet for me to lose. This was my first tournament on grass this season. "Yesterday, I had a little bit of a strain in my thigh but it was not a question of not being able to play." He said he would not do anything to jeopardise his future. And speaking before a practice session today, Melzer, who is not under suspicion, said: "I played my match. I won in three sets. I didn't have any knowledge of any betting. I was surprised this morning to read it in the papers. "Even if he was fit, I would beat him on three sets on grass. "The odds would be that I would beat him in three sets. Any set I would lose would be a surprise. "I'm now in a strange position. I'm getting asked questions about something I have nothing to do with. "It's bad for tennis."

* PA Sport