Tennis Risks Entering Into A Black Market Following Match-Fixing Review, Warns Sportradar - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Risks Entering Into A Black Market Following Match-Fixing Review, Warns Sportradar

It has been claimed that one recommendation made following a multi-million pound investigation into match-fixing has been based on ‘weak and flawed’ evidence.

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Sports data company Sportrader has hit back at a report published earlier this year by the Tennis Integrity Unit concerning recommendations to tackle match-fixing in the sport.

In April an Independent Review Panel (IRP) released an extensive report concerning corruption in the sport following a two-year multi-million pound investigation. It concluded that there was a ‘tsunami’ of corruption occurring at lower level events where the prize money is low. However, dismissed the idea that the governing bodies of tennis have tried to cover up the problem. The investigation was launched following a report in January 2016 by the BBC and Buzzfeed news that claimed match-fixing was widespread in tennis.

The IRP set out a series of recommendations for the future, but one particular proposal has been blasted by Sportradar. This is concerning the call to get rid of the data sales at the lowest level of the sport. Meaning a removal of live scoring from those events. Sportradar currently has a $70 million deal with the ITF in regards to providing live data for matches, including Challenger and Futures events.

“The Review has provided useful insight into betting-related integrity issues within tennis and provides some sound recommendations on how best to address these challenges.” Sportradar concluded in their 112-page report.
“However, whilst we agree that tennis faces integrity risks, in certain key areas we believe that the Review has misrepresented those risks and consequently proposed solutions that are inappropriate and disproportionate. Our concerns principally relate to Recommendation 1 and the discontinuance of data sales.”

Continuing their defence, the sports data group has claimed that the IRP’s conclusion is based on ‘weak and flawed’ evidence. Arguing that betting data shows that match-fixing pose a higher risk at both Challenger and ATP Tour level. Sportradar has also said that should data sales be removed from the lower level events, it will only shift the issue to ‘higher risk’ markets. It will also have little impact on efforts to reduce the number of match-fixing offences or reduced the workload for the Tennis Integrity Unit.

“Attempting a total data black-out on a sport has never been done, or even trialled or tested before,” Managing Director of Group Operations David Lampitt told SBC News.
“Counter evidence and expert analysis indicate that such an approach is likely to have a harmful effect on integrity, which would be hard to reverse if unsuccessful.
“So, the Panel is staking its reputation, and that of the sport, on an uncertain ‘guess’, when there is good evidence that a different approach and an incremental process of implementing enhanced and targeted measures would be more likely to deliver successful outcomes and integrity benefits.”

According to the data provided in the report published by the IRP, ITF tournaments had the lowest ratio of referral rates concerning irregularities. During 2017 the referral ratio was 0.32%, which is lower than tour level (0.46%) and grand slams (0.64%). An analysis of data between 2013-2017 also found that Challenger tournaments posed a greater risk to match fixing than Future events.

In the world of sports betting, tennis remains one of the most vulnerable to match-fixing. A report by the International sports betting integrity association ESSA flagged up a total of 44 suspicious betting alerts during the second quarter of 2018. This equates to 71% of total alerts they were notified of.

Recommendations by Sportradar

  1. Implement a proactive tennis-wide approach to restricting data distribution, targeting specific matches with an elevated risk of corrupt activity based on a consistent and analysis-led evaluation. This is something that Sportradaris doing as part of their integrity partnership with the ITF
  2. Create a new body made up of representatives from tennis, betting operators and sports data companies to ensure a more concerted and collective approach to fighting corruption in tennis across related operational areas that should include the application of the above-targeted data restrictions
  3. Increase AV streaming coverage, where possible, to help provide reliable evidence
  4. Create new regulations to enable quicker sanctioning based on betting data and expert player analysis
  5. Bring in targeted measures to deal with online abuse of players, especially at lower levels, enabling players to escalate concerns
  6. Use technology to target risks, streamline processes, maximise impact and enhance intelligence-led enforcement action

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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