Australian Open 2023: Match-fixing and corruption rife within the tennis world, dirty sport, ITIA, bribery

Tennis has been labelled the dirtiest sport in the world following a global investigation into corruption.

Bombshell match-fixing allegations rocked the sport last year when two players were reported to have been offered money to fix matches with one alleged instance occurring during a first-round doubles match at Wimbledon in 2021.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) was formed in 2021 to tackle ongoing corruption within the sport and is said to be on high alert over recent cases.

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It’s led to a bigger than usual operation to be put in place at Melbourne Park for the 2023 Australian Open with agents keeping close watch on multiple “persons of interest”, according to News Corp Australia.

With millions of eyes from all over the globe tuning in and cameras covering almost every angle of Melbourne Park, officials don’t suspect any instances to unfold during the Australian Open.

Corruption in sport tends to happen away from the spotlight and occur during lower level tournaments.

Despite that, investigators within the walls of Melbourne Park are reportedly closely monitoring multiple targets.

Read the exclusive story here.

“There are players who have been involved in match fixing who will come to the grand slams,” ITIA communications boss Adrian Bassett said to the Herald Sun.

“Of course, the players who are of interest who come to grand slams, that’s half the reason our investigators are here.

“But we don’t see evidence of mass match fixing at grand slams because this is when everyone is watching and the bookmakers are keeping a close eye on it as well.”

While corruption and match-fixing is nothing new to the sporting world, the level of it unfolding in tennis – uncovered by the ITIA – paints a damning picture.

Over the final four months of 2022 the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) became aware of 76 suspicious alerts.

A tick under half of all instances came from the world of tennis.

Last year alone four players were handed lifetime bans from the sport with 26 coaches handed bans that totalled a whopping 183 years.

Prior to the Australian Open getting underway two Algerian players were handed bans over multiple match-fixing incidents from 2016.

“Mohamed Hassan has been banned for life from the sport and Houria Boukholda banned for two years (with 18 months suspended),” the ITIA reported.

“In addition to the bans, Hassan was fined $12,100 and Boukholda fined $10,000 (with $9,000 suspended).

“The cases were ruled on by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Janie Soublière and the sanctions mean that both players are prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis. Neither individual engaged with the process nor responded to the charges.”

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