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Match Fixing…Why Wouldn’t You?

Posted on January 26 2016

With all the recent controversy surrounding this topic and the recent guilty plea from former pro Nick Lindahl relating to match fixing over a minor tournament game in 2013 I thought this time is as good as any to share my views on this.

Tennis is one, if not the most brutal of sports out there, the complexity of this one on one ‘combat’ game is not for the faint hearted, long gone are the days of wearing long white trousers, pushing sliced backhands back into court and having a “jolly good game with your opponent”. The evolution of the game now demands blood, sweat and tears 12 months a year to have any remote chance of succeeding.

A couple of years ago there came an announcement that prize money would be filtered down into the game to help lower ranked players have the chance to earn more money. When I heard this, as an ex pro player struggling to survive at the levels I was competing at it pleased me considerably to hear that the powers that be had finally recognised something needed to be done. Delight suddenly turned to frustration and anger when their idea of filtering money down was to increase the prize money for 1st round losers at Wimbledon, WHAT??? Don’t worry about those guys who in most cases display great skills that are battling it out in 3rd world countries risking (in some cases) their lives for the sake of collecting ranking points for literally a few £s.

Wimbledon 2015 1st round Mens singles losers cheque was a very nice £29k and if you played in both Men’s dubs and Mixed dubs then you could come out with an extremely nice £34,250, quite right too, these guys are the very best players out there and with their rankings allowing them to play such events they deserve every penny they get in my book.

On the Challenger Tour (the next level down from the main tour) last week in the Philippines the top seed was ranked just outside the top 100 at 104 so this guy is the 104th best tennis player on the planet, when you stop and think about that that’s a pretty amazing level. He lost 2nd round (an example of the strength in depth) and picked up around £800.00 less expenses so unless he was very local he would have been likely to be out of pocket. How can that be right??

The bottom level of pro tennis, The Futures Circuit $10k winners cheque equates to roughly £900 and 1st round losers get an embarrassing £65!!!.
Even with some recent prize money rises at this level who, if anyone else as a highly skilled workman in any job has to work this hard and come out with this amount of money?? I say come out with, I’m incorrect I forgot to take off all the expenses required to get there and take part….. !

The strength in depth in world tennis is immense, thousands of extremely good players with rankings well into the high hundreds are playing for peanuts every week so the temptation of earning some big money to help fund the rest of their year doesn’t come as a surprise to me. Not for one minute am I suggesting that this is right but I can certainly understand the reasons for them taking part in this dark idea.

Wanna Get Involved And Give It A Go…? Here’s A Small Taste Of The Reality;

1) 10,000 + players either with a ranking or trying to get a ranking with only spaces for the top 100 to be earning decent money, yes that’s right you could have a 3 digit ranking beginning with the number 1 and have little to show for it. Imagine what money you would be on if you were the 150th best in the world at your job…..maybe you are…!

2) Your 100% judged on your performances every week. Win the tournament great, in some cases (remember there’s only ever 1 winner in each event) lose 1st round or early on and oh dear……

3) There’s no “fast tracking up the rankings” you don’t get spotted at non league level and then because a manager thinks you can make it buys you and gives you the chance to play in The Premier League bypassing all the other leagues on the way on a whopping guaranteed salary whether your playing or sitting on the physio bench each week. The Novaks, Rogers, Rafas, Andys of this world have all had to start at the bottom and climb up to the top. They all would have played at every level of the game to get to where they are today.

I could go on and keep boring you with other facts but I won’t. You and I both don’t have the time!

So address the gulf in prize money from the top to the bottom of the game and you will have more chance of eradicating these stories that are starting to appear. Loads of this is likely to go on and will keep going on because a couple of ‘fixed’ matches seems to be an answer to funding your game for a year in the hope of one day getting up into the treasure chest of the Top 100 where these problems can easily go away.

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