The spectre of alleged match fixing in tennis has again reared its ugly head at the Australian Open after betting was suspended on a mixed doubles clash.
The vast majority of the money was placed on Czech Andrea Hlavackova and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot, according to Marco Blume from global betting website Pinnacle Sports.
Hlavackova and Kubot went on to beat Spanish pairing Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero 6-0 6-3, although Kubot insisted he saw nothing dodgy from his opponents.
It came only a week after allegations were aired by the BBC and Buzzfeed of widespread match fixing in tennis.
The New York Times reported that betting was suspended on the mixed doubles encounter on Sunday by Pinnacle Sports, 13 hours before it was due to begin.
Arruabarrena denied any suggestion of match fixing, while Marrero said he was suffering from a knee injury.
“They were trying – 100 per cent. We were trying our best and we won that match. I don’t know why so many people are here,” Kubot told a packed media conference.
“To be honest we were so focused on our game that I didn’t notice if he was injured or she was injured. We were just focusing on ourselves and trying to get our momentum up.
“In the first set we were very lucky but that’s how it happened.”
Both players revealed they had been interviewed about the match by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).
Tennis Australia released a brief statement on Monday afternoon, confirming the TIU would review all investigations of corruption in tennis.
“The TIU does not comment on the progress of any investigation until and unless there is a sanction determined,” said TA.
Last week, retiring Australian legend Lleyton Hewitt was furious to find his name on a list of 16 players involved in matches featuring suspicious betting activity.
“In tennis everybody should play fair but first of all people should find out and prove and then put the names of the guys (out),” Kubot said.
“If there’s no proof it should not happen and to be honest as someone who has Lleyton Hewitt as an idol I feel very sad that, that happened with his name right here in his favourite grand slam.
“You work hard every day – every one of us – and this is putting us on the black list without any proof.”
Pinnacle representatives relayed their concerns to Victoria Police.
“We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money,” Blume told the New York Times.
“In context, these matches are rather small. That means that any aggressive betting behaviour is very easy to detect on our side.”
It was the first instance of such an unusual betting pattern at the 2016 Australian Open.
The explosive developments came on the same day that former Australian Open junior runner-up Nick Lindahl fronted Burwood Local Court over an alleged match-fixing scheme.
He is alleged to have offered to lose a match at the 2013 Toowoomba Futures Six tournament.