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Suspicions of match-fixing 'to be investigated'

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-25

After mass bets were placed on a first-round Wimbledon match on Tuesday, British media reported that tennis authorities are expected to launch an investigation. Tournament champion Roger Federer expressed his concern over the dangers of betting.

AFP - Five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer admitted on Wednesday that he was concerned over the danger posed by betting in tennis.

The world number two was reacting to reports that unusual betting patterns on Austrian number 26 seed Jurgen Melzer's 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over America's Wayne Odesnik in the first round here were "very visible".

The Tennis Integrity Unit is expected to look into the match although there is no suspicion of any wrongdoing.

"We don't talk about it in the locker room, but it's happened more frequently than we talk about it," said Federer.

"If it's happening or not, we are suspecting. We're not sure. But, of course, it has no place in tennis.

"It's hard to control. But I'm sure the ATP (Association of Tennis Professional) and the ITF (International Tennis Federation), we're trying our best to catch those guys - if there are any out there.

"I think we should have massive bans on those who get caught. We talk about it in the Player Council. Those are things definitely we're trying to fight. We have a good set-up, so we can't avoid that there are some funny results sometimes here and there. That doesn't mean it's really happening."

Melzer, who is not under suspicion, told the Press Association: "I played my match. I won in three sets. I didn't have any knowledge of any betting. I was surprised this morning to read it in the papers.

"Even if he was fit, I would beat him on three sets on grass.

"I'm now in a strange position. I'm getting asked questions about something I have nothing to do with. It's bad for tennis."

Betfair spokesman Mark Davies told the BBC: "We have a memorandum of understanding with the Tennis Integrity Unit which allows them to see patterns of all the betting which takes place on our site and we alerted them to this.

"It was extremely visible to all our customers, the price moving in as quickly as it did. There was a lot of chat about it on our forums.

"So we would have liaised with the Tennis Integrity Unit and then they can make a judgment whether there is something more sinister in this or whether it is just a question of people being aware of a player who was already significantly under-rated carrying an injury that meant that he was likely to lose."

Odesnik told the Daily Telegraph: "I'd never do anything to jeopardise my future."

Bookmakers Ladbrokes also suspended betting on the tie.

Spokesman Robin Hutchison told AFP: "We suspended betting as a precaution just before the match because we were aware of a bit of injury news"

"As far was we're concerned, there doesn't appear to be much of a problem.

"We took more money on Melzer than on Odesnik and we heard he was carrying an injury and it's prudent in these circumstances just to sit out the dance."

Date created : 2009-06-25

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