Irked Mur­ray says ten­nis is send­ing “mixed mes­sages” on match-fix­ing

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Jo­ce­lyn Gecker

mel­bourne, aus­tralia» Andy Mur­ray finds it “hyp­o­crit­i­cal” that ten­nis au­thor­i­ties are try­ing to stamp out match-fix­ing run by gam­bling syn­di­cates but have part­nered with a ma­jor gam­bling com­pany that is now ad­ver­tis­ing on the Aus­tralian Open’s show courts.

The two is­sues are sep­a­rate but have col­lided at this year’s Aus­tralian Open, where ten­nis was over­shad­owed for a se­cond day Tues­day by al­le­ga­tions that match-fix­ing has gone unchecked in ten­nis.

The con­tro­versy ig­nited Mon­day when the BBC and Buz­zfeed News pub­lished re­ports al­leg­ing that the sport’s high­est au­thor­i­ties had ig­nored ev­i­dence of match­fix­ing in­volv­ing 16 play­ers who had been ranked in the top 50 over the past decade. The re­port said that half of those play­ers were at this year’s Aus­tralian Open but did not name names.

The gov­ern­ing bod­ies for ten­nis have pre­sented a uni­fied front in re­ject­ing the claims, and high­lighted the fact that five play­ers and an of­fi­cial had re­ceived life bans af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions from the Ten­nis In­tegrity Unit, which was set up in 2008.

No. 2-ranked Mur­ray and other top play­ers, in­clud­ing Roger Fed­erer and No­vak Djokovic, said au­thor­i­ties could be do­ing more to com­bat the prob­lem. The play­ers said they have known the is­sue ex­isted but they doubt any top play­ers have been in­volved.

Mur­ray said the sport was send­ing mixed mes­sages by al­low­ing bet­ting com­pany Wil­liam Hill to be­come one of the Aus­tralian Open’s spon­sor’s this year and ad­ver­tise on the tour­na­ment’s three main show courts.

For the first time at Mel­bourne Park, elec­tronic ad­ver­tis­ing boards at Rod Laver Arena, Mar­garet Court Arena and Hisense Arena dis­played the name “Wil­liam Hill” dur­ing breaks in play.

“I’m not re­ally pro that,” Mur­ray, a four­time fi­nal­ist in Mel­bourne said Tues­day, af­ter ad­vanc­ing to the se­cond round. “I think it’s a lit­tle bit hyp­o­crit­i­cal.”

Rafael Nadal plays a fore­hand re­turn Tues­day against fel­low Spa­niard Fer­nando Ver­dasco. Nadal, who has won 14 ma­jor ti­tles, fell in five sets, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4). Wil­liam West, AFP/Getty Im­ages

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