Scan­dal dom­i­nat­ing ten­nis con­ver­sa­tion

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Jo­ce­lyn Gecker

mel­bourne, aus­tralia» Around the world, play­ers, com­men­ta­tors and fans echoed the call of Roger Fed­erer, who wants to know names of those sus­pected of match-fix­ing in a grow­ing scan­dal that one ex-pro de­scribed as a “ma­jor wake-up call for the world of ten­nis.”

Many called for clar­ity, say­ing the pub­lic and play­ers have a right to know who is sus­pected of cheat­ing. Oth­ers warned that the match-fix­ing scan­dal has the po­ten­tial to dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of ten­nis, just as dop­ing or cor­rup­tion scan­dals have hurt pro­fes­sional cy­cling, ath­let­ics, base­ball and soc­cer.

Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam cham­pion, tweeted: “We need facts, not sup­po­si­tions.”

The scan­dal broke Mon­day when the BBC and Buz­zFeed News pub­lished re­ports — timed for the start of the Aus­tralian Open — al­leg­ing that ten­nis au­thor­i­ties have ig­nored wide­spread ev­i­dence of match-fix­ing in­volv­ing 16 ten­nis play­ers who have ranked in the top 50 over the past decade.

Buz­zFeed ti­tled its story “The Ten­nis Racket,” and said that half of those 16, in­clud­ing a Grand Slam win­ner, were at this year’s Aus­tralian Open.

“This re­ally casts a very dark shadow on our sport right now,” Mary Jo Fer­nan­dez said on ESPN, as part of a panel dis­cus­sion Wed­nes­day on the con­tro­versy.

“Hope­fully be­cause the world is watch­ing, some­thing will be done about it. We need to flag who th­ese play­ers were,” said Fer­nan­dez, a three-time Grand Slam fi­nal­ist, win­ner of two Grand Slam women’s dou­bles ti­tles and two Olympic gold medals.

Fed­erer was among the first to de­mand more in­for­ma­tion: “I would love to hear names,” the Swiss star said Mon­day at a post­match news con­fer­ence.

His com­ments have res­onated with those who say not know­ing leads to dan­ger­ous spec­u­la­tion.

“This is turn­ing into a witch hunt,” said Pa­trick McEn­roe, a for­mer French Open dou­bles cham­pion and cap­tain of the U.S. Davis Cup team who was in Mel­bourne com­men­tat­ing.

No. 1-ranked No­vak Djokovic was put on the spot Wed­nes­day at a post-match news con­fer­ence, where a reporter told him an Ital­ian news­pa­per had just re­ported that he “wanted to lose” a match in Paris in 2007.

“You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost, and just cre­ate a story out of it,” Djokovic said.

“This is now the main story in ten­nis, in the sports world, there’s go­ing to be a lot of al­le­ga­tions,” he said, call­ing it “just spec­u­la­tion” and say­ing “it is not true.”

As for the ac­tion on the court Thurs­day, No. 10seeded John Is­ner fired 20 aces and 53 win­ners in a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) win over Mar­cel Gra­nollers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.