Let me tell you something: the match-fixing business in sports has been flourishing for years. You can certainly think of plenty of examples from football where matches have been rigged. But did you know that tennis has also fallen victim to match-fixing?
It turns out that even five years ago, tennis won the anti-rating of arranged matches. The number of games that were arranged was greater than imagined.
Of course, this fact has not escaped the notice of many bettors. Some of the tennis betting fans wanted easy money, some tried to try their hand as intermediaries and cooperate with shady companies on arrangements.
Today we will try to find out why match-fixing is needed, how athletes benefit from it and why some are forced down the dirty path to fame.
Match-fixing in tennis: the reasons why it happens
All roads lead to money. Big sport – big sums? Not always.
Of course, many people think that professional athletes are a priori rich people, who earn more in a single outing than an average citizen earns in a year. But big sport lives by very different laws.
Professional tennis has brought together thousands of men and women. However, not everyone lives with good income.
Those who have titles and elite places in the world rankings see large sums. But even in this ranking, salaries with a huge number of zeros are present, at most, in the top twenty who make it to the top tennis tournaments. Athletes who make it into the top 50 can also live comfortably and not need anything. Those who have earned a place under the sun in the top 100 can buy luxury real estate and fly to the Maldives several times a year.
Things are a little more complicated from here on. Tennis players whose names are visible in the top 150 are once in a while “grabbing” handsome sums. Those who are not in the top 150, however, do not live as nicely as tennis fans think.
The hidden side of big sport
Let’s get this straight: before going to a tournament, an athlete trains for a long time, spends money on good nutrition to keep himself fit, and doesn’t forget quality clothing and professional rackets.
And there it is – the moment X – the tennis player goes to the tournament. Hotel accommodation, food, the best courts for training – all at the expense of the participant. Simple arithmetic: to cover all your needs and leave “something to live on”, you need to be at least in the top 100, and preferably in the top 20. But vacancies and a ticket to the top of the rankings do not go to everyone.
It turns out that many tennis players sometimes fly to tournaments “in deficit”, earn nothing and incur serious expenses.
Let’s look at the situation of certain athletes and everything will become clear. There is an introduction: a tournament in Italy, there are two competitors in the final. They are practically at the same level – both in the top 150. The prize fund of the competition is about 45 thousand euros.
Russian athlete Alexey Vatutin was unlucky: not only did he not even make it to the eighth final, but he is also ranked 248th in the world. It turns out that Alexey “collected” only 450 euros for taking part in the tournament. It should be remembered that plane tickets, nights in a hotel and training in Italy are not a one-off trip to the grocery shop.
It turns out that the “Italian holiday” cost Alexey a pretty penny – and he did not cover these costs.
What has the winner got? He basked in the glory, probably bathed in the Mediterranean Sea and took home 6,000 euros. Compared to Alexey, excellent. The winner, at least, did not go into deficit. But if you take into account all the expenses – it’s not an amount that can comfort a tennis player.
We gave an example of a fairly good prize fund. Sometimes it happens twice less.
Fixed matches: condition and implementation
There are certain companies that make money from match-fixing. It is out of duty to make sure that everyone involved gets theirs. They look for athletes who are not at all happy with their prize money and offer to earn “extra” from a few thousand dollars or more – depending on the tournament.
The tennis player has to fulfil certain conditions and the contract is in force.
What kind of agreements are there?
The outcome of the match is the most popular contract that needs no introduction.
The result of the first set – there are times when a strong player suddenly starts to lose sharply to a clear underdog. But the rest of the set is quickly rehabilitated.
A multi-set arrangement – here the “fair way” is for each of the contestants to concede one set to the other. The third set is left ‘no trick’.
The outcome of the pitch – this is where the agreement for a particular pitch is made.
How to deal with match-fixing?
There is a service that makes sure that the match is logical. How do you recognise that it is fixed? When something happens on the court that defies reason. Why did a strong player abruptly start dodging the tennis ball? Why did the outsider take the first set easily and effortlessly? When there are too many of these “why’s”, the security team takes the match under special control.
If the refereeing commission understands that the match was bogus, then the athletes will be banned from tennis for life. The stakes are high.
Speaking of bets, betting on match-fixing is highly undesirable. Verified bookmakers do not cooperate with shadow companies, because this is fraught with serious problems.
Tennis, like any sport, is extremely volatile in earnings. There will always be “high-flying birds” who make millions, travel to world tournaments and bathe in luxury. And there will be those who fall short of the coveted top list and try to cover the disadvantage of competing in tournaments.
Participation in contractual matches is the risk of getting disqualified, which will forever deprive the athlete of both earnings and the work of his whole life.