Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2016 Contents A53
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MELBOURNE---At the time, she
called herself "Super Serena" and
posted a picture of herself dressed
In hindsight, tennis star Serena
Williams thinks it wasn t the best
idea to chase after a man who
appeared to be stealing her cell
"Sometimes, athletes just react,"
the No. 1-ranked player said yesterday
as she started her bid for a seventh
Australian Open title with a 6-4, 7-
5 win over Italy s Camila Giorgi.
Williams hadn t completed a com-
petitive match since losing in the
U.S. Open semifinals, a defeat that
ended her bid to win all four Grand
Slams in the same season. The last
player to do it was Steffi Graf in 1988.
The extended break raised ques-
tions about Williams form and
meant she hadn t elaborated much
publicly on the cell phone incident,
which happened in November while
she dined with a friend at a San Fran-
cisco restaurant. She wrote about it
in a Facebook post at the time, saying
she had noticed a man lurking near
her table before he grabbed the cell
phone and left.
Surveillance footage showed
Williams quickly leaving the restau-
rant and appearing to confront the
man on the sidewalk. Williams wrote
that she asked the man if he had
accidentally taken the wrong phone,
and he gave it back. She signed the
post, "Super Serena" and the tale
quickly made headlines.
"I didn t think it would be such
a big story," Williams said yesterday.
"I didn t know it would be every-
where, every blog, every TV channel
and every radio station. People were
calling me. My dad was worried. I
just had no idea it would blow up
Asked if she would do it again,
Williams said, "Oh, God, no. I reacted
and I didn t think."
Now, her focus has returned to
tennis and the 21-time Grand Slam
winner says she s fit despite her time
off and a recent injury.
"I haven t played in a long time,
but I have been playing for 30 years
so---I try to focus on that," said
Williams, who withdrew from the
Hopman Cup earlier this month after
playing just one set because of
inflammation in her left knee.
Williams said she didn t feel the
knee problem at all during yester-
day s match, dropping just one
service game against No. 34-ranked
No. 5 Maria Sharapova, who lost
to Williams in last year s final,
breezed through her first-round
match 6-1, 6-3 against Nao Hibino
MELBOURNE---Roger Federer has
heard enough speculation about
match-fixing in tennis. If players
are suspected of corruption, he
Federer was responding to reports
by BBC and BuzzFeed News pub-
lished yesterday that tennis author-
ities have suppressed evidence of
match-fixing and overlooked sus-
pected cases involving players ranked
in the top 50, including Grand Slam
singles and doubles winners.
The reports said that none of these
players had faced sanctions and more
than half would be playing at this
year s Australian Open, which started
yesterday. The players weren t iden-
tified by name.
"I would love to hear names," Fed-
erer said after beating Nikoloz Basi-
lashvili of Georgia 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.
"Then at least it s concrete stuff and
you can actually debate about it. Was
it the player? Was it the support
team? Who was it? Was it before?
Was it a doubles player, a singles
player? Which Slam?"
"It s super serious and it s super
important to maintain the integrity
of our sport," Federer added. "So how
high up does it go? The higher it
goes, the more surprised I would be."
ATP chairman Chris Kermode
appeared at a news conference to
reject the assertion that match-fixing
had gone unchecked in the sport,
saying the Tennis Integrity Unit
remained "constantly vigilant and
not complacent" when it comes to
"The Tennis Integrity Unit and
tennis authorities absolutely reject
any suggestion that evidence of
match-fixing has been suppressed
for any reason or isn t being thor-
oughly investigated," he said.
The BBC and BuzzFeed allegations
were based on files they reported had
been leaked "from inside the sport"
showing evidence of suspected
match-fixing orchestrated by gam-
bling syndicates in Russia and Italy
that had been uncovered during an
ATP investigation of a 2007 match
in Sopot, Poland, involving suspi-
ciously high levels of betting.
According to the reports, the ATP
investigation widened to uncover a
network of other players suspected
of match-fixing, but officials didn t
follow up on the cases. Since then,
the reports said, the ATP has repeat-
edly been warned by bookmakers,
foreign police and other investigators
about many of the same players, but
hasn t taken any action against them.
Kermode said the integrity unit
had been formed in 2008 as a joint
initiative of the International Tennis
Federation, the ATP, the WTA and
the Grand Slam Board to combat cor-
ruption in the wake of the Sopot
He maintained that the unit inves-
tigates every report it receives and
takes action only when it has enough
evidence to do so. It has since sanc-
tioned 18 people for match-fixing,
including five players and one official
who received lifetime bans.
"You can have lots of information,
lots of anecdotal reports, but it s about
getting evidence that we can use,"
TIU chief Nigel Willerton declined
to say whether any players at the
Australian Open were being moni-
tored for suspected match-fixing.
Many of those punished have been
lower-ranked players on the second-
tier Challenger tour. Two of the most
higher-profile players---former top-
50 players Daniele Bracciali and Potito
Starace---were initially banned for life
before their suspensions were lifted
by the Italian Tennis Federation last
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic said
he doubted the problem extended to
the top level of the sport, and pointed
to the enhanced monitoring systems
put in place.
"We have, I think, a sport (that
has) evolved and upgraded our pro-
grams and authorities to deal with
these particular cases," he said.
"There s no real proof or evidence
yet of any active players (being
involved in match-fixing), for that
matter. As long as it s like that, it s
Djokovic did confirm, though, that
members of his support team were
approached about throwing a match
in Russia in 2007.
"I was not approached directly. I
was approached through people that
were working with me at that time,"
he said. "Of course, we (rejected) it
right away. It didn t even get to me---
the guy that was trying to talk to me,
he didn t even get to me directly.
There was nothing out of it."
Other questions were raised Mon-
day about whether the sport was
sending mixed messages by allowing
the bookmaker William Hill to
become one of the Australian Open s
sponsors this year and advertise on
"Honestly it s on a borderline, I
would say," Djokovic said. "Whether
you want to have betting companies
involved in the big tournaments in
our sport or not, it s hard to say what s
right and what s wrong."
focuses on lucky seven title
Name players suspected of match fixing
Roger Federer of Switzerland makes a forehand return to Nikoloz
Basilashvili of Georgia during their first round match at the Australian Open
tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Serena Williams makes a
forehand return to Camila
Giorgi during their first
round match at the
Australian Open tennis
yesterday. AP PHOTO
MELBOURNE---A look at Monday's
opening day of the Australian Open:
WEATHER: Sunny with a high of 35
degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
ATTENDANCE: Day 46,889; Night:
23,281; TOTAL: 70,170.
SEEDED MEN'S RESULTS: No. 1
Novak Djokovic def. Chung Hyeon, No.
3 Roger Federer def. Nikoloz Basi-
lashvili, No. 6 Tomas Berdych def.
Yuki Bhambri, No. 7 Kei Nishikori def.
Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 9 Jo-Wil-
fried Tsonga def. Marcos Baghdatis,
No. 12 Marin Cilic def. Thiemo de
Bakker, No. 14 Gilles Simon def. Vasek
Pospisil, No. 15 David Goffin def.
Sergiy Stakhovsky, No. 17 Benoit
Paire lost to Noah Rubin, No. 19 Do-
minic Thiem def. Leonardo Mayer, No.
22 Ivo Karlovic lost to Federico Del-
bonis, No. 24 Roberto Bautista def.
Martin Klizan, No. 26 Guillermo Gar-
cia-Lopez def. Paul-Henri Mathieu,
No. 27 Grigor Dimitrov def. Paolo
Lorenzi, No. 29 Nick Kyrgios def.
SEEDED WOMEN'S RESULTS: No.
1 Serena Williams def. Camila Giorgi,
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska def.
Christina McHale, No. 5 Maria Shara-
pova def. Nao Hibino, No. 6 Petra Kvi-
tova def. Luksika Kumkhum, No. 10
Carla Suarez def. Viktorija Golubic,
No. 12 Belinda Bencic def. Alison
Riske, No. 13 Roberta Vinci def.
Tamira Paszek, No. 16 Caroline Woz-
niacki lost to Yulia Putintseva, No. 17
Sara Errani lost to Margarita Gas-
paryan, No. 22 Andrea Petkovic lost
to Elizaveta Kulichkova, No. 23 Svet-
lana Kuznetsova def. Daniela Hantu-
chova, No. 24 Sloane Stephens lost to
Wang Qiang, No. 25 Samantha Sto-
sur lost to Kristyna Pliskova, No. 26
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova lost to
Lauren Davis, No. 27 Anna Karolina
Schmiedlova lost to Darya Kasatkina,
No. 28 Kristina Mladenovic def. Do-
STAT OF THE DAY: 65---the num-
ber of consecutive majors played by
Roger Federer, beginning with the
2000 Australian Open.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I would love
to hear names"---Federer's reaction to
a report that 16 players, including
Grand Slam champions, may have
been involved in match-fixing.
ON COURT TUESDAY: No. 2 Andy
Murray vs. Alexander Zverev, No. 4
Stan Wawrinka vs. Dmitry Tursonov,
No. 5 Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Ver-
dasco; No. 2 Simona Halep vs. Zhang
Shuai, No. 3 Garbine Muguruza vs.
Anett Kontaveit, No. 8 Venus
Williams vs. Johanna Konta..
AUSTRALIAN OPEN AT A GLANCE:
Links Archive January 18th 2016 January 20th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page