ATP Match Under the Spotlight after Irregular Betting Patterns
The tennis world is reeling at the news that the Tennis Integrity Unit
(TIU) is investigating the recent ATP match between Thiago Monteiro and Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Winston-Salem open. A number of bookmakers stopped taking bets on the match in the hours leading up to the encounter, when an unusually large number of bets were placed on Monteiro to win.
Not only did he win, but it took less than an hour for him to do so, and the TIU was swiftly alerted.
Ukrainian Dolgopolov was once ranked as high as 13 in the world, after reaching the quarter finals of the 2011 Australian open. Although his ranking has now slipped to 63, the 28 year old is still a force to be reckoned with, and was certainly seen as favourite against his Brazilian rival, who is some 50 places below him in the world rankings. Having said that, Monteiro won the previous match between the pair, when they met earlier in 2017.
Tennis has become one of the most popular sports for betting, thanks in part to its high profile TV coverage and also to the rise of online sports betting sites over the past few years. Most of the top ten online casinos
provide the opportunity for visitors to bet on their favourite sporting events, as well as participating in the more traditional games such as slots and roulette.
Unfortunately, in all walks of life, where there is money to be made, there are individuals who will break the rules and use unethical means to get it. This is why organisations such as the TIU are so important, to ensure everyone gets to enjoy a fair game and has the chance to win some money if they know where to stake their wager.
On the whole, tennis has managed to keep clear of the sports betting scandals that have rocked some sports, such as the Macedonia scandal in football’s UEFA league or the infamous Hansie Cronje saga
from 2000 that almost brought the “gentleman’s sport” of cricket to its knees.
Nevertheless, no sport is immune, and this is not the first time the TIU has been called into action. Last year, it was called in to examine whether one of the matches at Wimbledon in 2016 had been fixed. It was also asked to look into allegations of strange betting patterns during a 2016 US Open match.
What happens next?
The TIU was quick to point out that it has a policy of investigating every report it receives, and so the fact that it is looking into this match is not evidence that anything untoward has taken place.
It will now look closely at the match, and assess whether there is any reason to suspect that Dolgopolov was not playing to win.
While the TIU releases quarterly figures on the number of alerts it receives, it is unusual for it to comment on a specific incident as it has done in this case. All we can do at present, is watch and wait for its conclusions to be released.