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
- 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
- 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
- Increase AV streaming coverage, where possible, to help provide reliable evidence
- Create new regulations to enable quicker sanctioning based on betting data and expert player analysis
- Bring in targeted measures to deal with online abuse of players, especially at lower levels, enabling players to escalate concerns
- Use technology to target risks, streamline processes, maximise impact and enhance intelligence-led enforcement action
Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel
Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.
Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.
Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.
Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo
The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.
The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.
“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.
The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).
Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia
Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.
“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.
World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.
“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.
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