These 73 “Suspicious” Tennis Matches? Can We Get Names, Tour Level And Percentages Please!

by Sean Randall | February 18th, 2016, 3:51 pm

So the match fixing saga continues and today gambling “watchdog” ESSA released a report which revealed 73 matches during the 2015 pro tennis season were identified as “suspicious” and therefore flagged.

What suspicious actually means is anyone’s guess but 73 matches did trigger their alert system. Sounds bad right?

Well, you should understand there were A LOT of matches played in 2015. And I would presume many of them could be wagered on.

Just a guess rough total, there were 6,000 matches** alone at the ATP and WTA level (inc main draw, doubles and mixed), another 12,000 at the Challenger/ITF levels and maybe 20,000 more in Futures?

So that’s 73 out of maybe 38,000 matches played? That’s 0.2% and the report doesn’t even tells us who was involved in these matches, where they took place or at the very least on what level.

Were they Grand Slam matches or ATP/WTA matches? If so, that’s big.

Were they Challenger or were they Futures?

I guess we are left to speculate and just assume – as a casual tennis fan unaware of the lower levels on the sport likely would – that these must be the same matches we watch on TV, right?

Because if we are just talking about Futures doubles matches in Tunisia involving unranked players like the guy who got busted yesterday, then I’m not really that interested. Sorry.

And the reports compare tennis to other sports including Snooker and “Greyhound” (both has 1 “alert” each). Well again, what’s the percentage? Because I’m quite sure there are more opportunities to bet on tennis than on snooker!

Of course we don’t know – and no one is willing to tell us – and to me until we start getting hard details and evidence this ultimately won’t amount to much more than what it’s starting to resemble, and that’s a smear campaign.

** I arrived at the 6,000 ATP/WTA matches number estimating 500 wagerable matches at every Slam, plus another 2,000 on each tour (with doubles). Then I doubled that number for Challengers and doubled that for Futures. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. There might be more because outside of Slams I didn’t account for qualies at any level.

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3 Comments for These 73 “Suspicious” Tennis Matches? Can We Get Names, Tour Level And Percentages Please!

chrisford1 Says:

Agree with Saan Randall. And Nole, and Fed, and Kermode, etc. – unless names are named – of players and ‘fixers’ being investigated – this is a factless smear campaign. The question that should be asked more and more as they remain unwilling to name names after a month is Qui bono. Who does the smear campaign benefit?
One disgruntled former employee of the TIU out to do damage? British interests resentful of the Asian money and ratings now building up the Australian Open??
Who knows. But maybe it is time for the people behind this campaign to be investigated for their own agendas. And not all “whistleblowers” are courageous heroes. Many lie and cause big damage (Iraq Exiles using “Curveball”, an agent of theirs posing as a defector knowing of countless WMD programs in Iraq to foment a war to financially benefit the Exiles). Many are driven by revenge to spread deceit, truths, and half-truths. (Mark Felt of the FBI).

Ben Pronin Says:

A smear campaign against tennis?

Just because it’s a small number of matches in the grand scheme of things doesn’t mean it’s not an issue.

Maybe (hopefully) we get names soon or at least sometime down the line. Why is everyone’s initial reaction to deny wrongdoing?

Dennis Says:

I think your figure might be low. though I can’t find a link with hard stats, I remember several commentators during the Australian Open, particularly Gimelstob, saying there are nearly 120,000 professional tennis matches at all levels played each year.

Even with your figures, 77 “flagged” matches is a drop in the bucket. It’s a shame, because the sensationalist headlines are giving the impression to the casual fan that the entire sport is corrupt from top to bottom, when in fact, from what I’ve read and heard, almost all “flagged” matches are at the lower levels involving obscure people in obscure plaes with hardly anyone watching. The only ATP level match I ever hear mentioned is that Davydenko match from 2007, nearly 10 years ago! If this is all they’ve got, then it seems to me a non-story. And people need to keep in mind that some betting house or betting “watchdog” (appointed by whom? self-appointed?) “flagging” a match is not remotely close to evidence of actual corruption.

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