Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2016 Contents A45
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MELBOURNE --- A look at
the Australian Open
WEATHER: early and late rain
that forced the roof on Rod Laver
Arena to be closed for the first
and last matches. High
temperature of 28C° (82F°).
ATTENDANCE: Day: 16,068;
Night: 18,042; TOTAL: 34,110.
MEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULT:
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 3
Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
RESULTS: No. 1 Serena Williams
def. No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska
6-0, 6-4; No. 7 Angelique Kerber
def. Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-2.
STAT OF THE DAY: --- 7:
number of wins in 7 semifinal
appearances by Williams at
Melbourne Park; she'll try to
make it 7 wins in 7 finals on
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I was
just standing there kind of
watching her playing ...
everything was just too good" ---
Radwanska on Williams'
ON COURT TODAY: Men's
semifinal: No. 2 Andy Murray vs.
No. 13 Milos Raonic; Women's
doubles final: No. 1 Martina Hingis
and Sania Mirza vs. No. 7 Andrea
Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
FRIDAY FORECAST: Showers,
high of 19C° (66F°).
SEE MORE ON PAGE 50
AUSTRALIAN OPEN AT A GLANCE
MELBOURNE --- The "Happy Slam" got off
to a somber start when allegations of match-
fixing in tennis overshadowed the opening
day of play at the Australian Open.
As the two-week tournament comes to close,
the suspicion of corruption lingers but the
focus has returned to the tennis court.
"The match-fixing claims have created head-
lines, true, but we as an organisation have
been pleased with how the entire sport has
responded," Australian Open tournament direc-
tor Craig Tiley told The Associated Press. "It
has been decisive and united."
Reports linked nearly a dozen unidentified
players competing at the tournament to illegal
betting activities, briefly blighting the first
Grand Slam tournament of the season --- the
one many players rave about for being the best
of the bunch.
Although the rumors and accusations have
persisted, no hard facts have been presented
and no one has yet been formally accused of
Tiley said crowd numbers and viewership
showed the tournament hadn t been hurt by
the match-fixing reports.
"The best answer I can give to that is through
the numbers," Tiley said. "We are on track for
a record crowd and our other exposure numbers
across multiple platforms are also very strong."
The BBC and BuzzFeed reported that 16
players, all ranked in the top 50 at some stage
and including at least one Grand Slam cham-
pion, had played in matches that had been
flagged with tennis authorities because of sus-
picious betting patterns. The report also said
the sport s regulators hadn t acted on the infor-
In a hastily-convened news conference, the
tennis governing bodies combined to deny the
allegations, saying there was no new evidence.
Leading players, including Novak Djokovic,
Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal,
all responded to questions about match-fixing
after their opening matches.
All said there was no problem at the top
level, but agreed the sport needed to react if
it was a serious issue.
Just as the first wave of allegations was
receding, a second wave crashed into the second
week when a New York Times report cast
doubt over a mixed doubles match at the tour-
"It has been hard on the Australian Open,
no question about it," ATP chairman Chris
Kermode noted this week as he announced an
independent review of the operations of the
sport s Tennis Integrity Unit. "We need to
address the perception, public confidence. We
don t have anything to hide at all."
Tennis Integrity Board and Wimbledon
chairman Philip Brook said while he didn t
think there was any new evidence of cor-
ruption, he acknowledged "it has changed
Federer, who lost to Djokovic yesterday in
the semifinals, said after his opening-round
victory that any new claims of match-fixing
were "super serious" if true, but thought he
had heard "old names being dropped."
"It s like who? What? It s like thrown around,
it s so easy to do that. I would love to hear
names. Then at least it s concrete stuff," Federer
said last week. "Was it a player? Was it support
team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a
doubles player, was it singles player? Which
slam? It s so all over the place. It s nonsense
to answer something that is pure speculation."
After the initial reports, lists of players
appeared on blogs and speculation and innu-
endo dominated social media. Mainstream
media weighed in.
"It s important to point out that having lists,
which are mainly compiled by suspicious bet-
ting patterns, do not mean corruption," Ker-
The second week of the tournament was
just about to start when the New York Times
named some names. The paper reported that
a US betting agency had stopped taking bets
on a mixed doubles match a half-day before
it was set to start because of an unexpected
In the match, Lukasz Kubot and Andrea
Hlavackova beat David Marrero and Lara Arru-
abarrena 6-0, 6-3. Kubot and Hlavackova
faced the media the following day, and said
they hadn t noticed anything unusual about
the match --- but confirmed they d been inter-
viewed by the Tennis Integrity Unit.
On the same day, a case involving a 27-
year-old former top 200 player at a low-level
futures event in 2013 in Toowoomba, a provin-
cial town in the northern Queensland state,
faced a court in Sydney charged with conspiring
to lose a match.
Nick Lukas Lindhal was said to have told
a friend he was going to "tank" a match
"because that s what tennis players do when
they can t play their best."
A betting firm considered the subsequent
gambling so suspicious it suspended betting.
He faces sentencing in April.
Tanking is the tennis term for not giving
100 per cent, be it for a point, game, set or
match. Players often blame conditions, the
court surface, injuries or simply momentum
for below-par performances.
Tennis officials recognise there are at least
68 wagers a gambler can make on a match,
and it s the kind of sport illegal syndicates
target because it takes only one player to corrupt
an outcome, and there are thousands of match-
es per year.
Even in the Grand Slam tournaments, where
scrutiny is high, players can be subjected to
fines or sanctions by umpires or tournament
referees for what is called "best efforts" --- or,
more specifically, not putting in their best
The review of the Tennis Integrity Unit,
which was set up in 2008 to combat match-
fixing, will have an open-ended deadline and
budget and its findings will be made public.
"Yeah, that s positive," Murray said after his
quarterfinal win on Wednesday. "I think in
these situations, I think people become sceptical
when it s sort of kept in-house a little bit."
Record crowds at 'Happy Slam'
Angelique Kerber of Germany plays a backhand return to Johanna Konta of Britain during their
semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia,
yesterday. SEE REPORT ON PAGE A50 AP PHOTO
...but match-fixing charges taint Australian Open
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