End Live Streaming Of Low Level Tournaments To Fight Corruption, Says Report - UBITENNIS
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End Live Streaming Of Low Level Tournaments To Fight Corruption, Says Report

The panel has cleared the governing bodies of tennis of any wrongdoing, but states that there is a ‘serious integrity problem.’

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ITF tournaments where the prize money is in the range of $15,000 should not have live data available in order to combat match-fixing, according to an independent report.

The Independent Review Panel (IRP) has delivered their final verdict following a lengthy investigation into corruption in the sport. The creation of the IRP was triggered following a 2016 joint news report by the BBC and Buzzfeed News that alleged match-fixing was widespread in the sport. An allegation that the governing bodies of tennis has firmly denied.

“Today, tennis faces a serious integrity problem,” the panel said. “There are several reasons for this: The nature of the game lends itself to manipulation for betting purposes.
“There are many contingencies. There is only one player who must act. Detection is difficult, not least because at many lower level matches there are no spectators and inadequate facilities to protect players from potential corrupters.
“Moreover, under-performance is often attributed to ‘tanking’, which too often has been tolerated.”

Findings has identified that the lowest level tournaments on the tour are the most prone to corruption due to the limited amount of money available to players. Hence the argument for the data of those events to not be reported live. A previous recommendation had said that this should apply to all ITF events with the prize money value of up to $25,000, but a review has found those in the $15,000 category post a far greater risk.

Sportradar currently has a $70 million contract with the ITF regarding data-rights of their tournaments. The company has previously hit back at the findings, by arguing that a total wipe-out of live data would create a ‘black market.’

“We welcome the fact that the Panel has reversed their recommendation to discontinue sale of live data at the $25k level of the sport, however we believe that they could and should have gone further.” Said David Lampitt, Managing Director of Group Operations at Sportradar.

The report has also called for all tournaments to not be sponsored by betting companies. Noting that the ITF already has a rule in place that prohibits this at their events. Calls have now been made for both the ATP and WTA to follow suit. However, the IRP said that any move to do so should be subjected to an ongoing assessment. Acknowledging that if the removal of sponsorships with betting companies has a negative impact on the sport, it can be reversed.

“The Panel considers that if betting sponsorships are allowed in the future, then the International Governing Bodies themselves should not take such sponsorships and they should make it an enforceable requirement that a specified and substantial, and not merely nominal, proportion of any value received from any sponsorship taken by an event they endorse must be spent on the protection of integrity, in a verifiable and approved manner.”

It has also been concluded that there have been no cover-up in corruption by the sport’s governing bodies. The ATP, WTA , ITF, and the Grand Slam Board have all pledged to implement the recommendations set out in a timely fashion.

The full report by the IRP can be read at http://tennisirp.com.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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