Tennis

Report: Teen Tennis Player Charged With Match-Fixing

Teens... is there anything they can't do?

Tennis
Jan 05, 2017 at 3:22 PM ET

An Australian tennis player has been charged with match-fixing by the Victoria Police, according to a report by Fairfax Media. In October, Olivier Anderson, an 18-year-old from Brisbane, the defending Australian Open junior champion, and currently the 743rd ranked singles player by the International Tennis Federation, allegedly tanked the first set during the Traralgon Challenger tournament in October, losing 4-6.

Anderson went on to win the next two sets, 6-2 and 6-0, though he was knocked out before the finals. The eventually winner netted a prize of $68,500 Australian dollars.

Fairfax Media spoke with a few unnamed tennis “figures” who praised Anderson’s game, work ethic, and potential, and those who’d watched the match live didn’t note any overt efforts to throw the match. (Then again, match fixing in tennis often hinges on single sets, and the difference between an off day and criminality is incredibly difficult to detect.) One former pro, who Fairfax Media describes as “well-known” said, “It’s extremely disappointing. I just don’t know why he would have [allegedly] got involved in something like that. I didn’t think he was that dumb.”

A representative for Anderson also put out this statement: “Oliver is cooperating fully with authorities. He now awaits the legal process.”

And that’s all we know for the moment. The police didn’t provide Fairfax Media with any details beyond defining the charges as “engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome” and providing a date when he would appear in court. We don’t know who might have approached Anderson, how much he was allegedly paid, or whether wagers spiked such that it might have tipped off the Victoria Police’s sporting integrity intelligence unit.

What is known is that lower-tier players competing in lesser-known tournaments are specifically targeted by gambling syndicates, as BuzzFeed and the BBC reported in an extensive investigation. Given the sheer number of matches worldwide and the relatively low payouts for anyone outside the highest echelons of the tennis world, it’s exceedingly difficult for the various governing and oversight bodies charged with stamping out corruption to do just that, not with a finite personnel and budget.

As Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said, “I’m not going to suggest it doesn’t occur at more professional levels, in fact we know that it does.

“Match fixing is one of the fastest growing organised crime types across the world. In-play betting and individual sports…are the big, risky practices for us.”