Were reports of a possibly rigged match at the Australian Open last week a, “cheap grab at free publicity”?
That’s the claim former Betfair executive Scott Ferguson made in a recent interview during which he absolutely skewered the tennis establishment and some high profile operators.
Ferguson’s interview, which appeared on SI.com, covers everything from his thoughts on how the Tennis Integrity Unit has mishandled the case, to why he thinks there might not have actual match rigging at this year’s Australian Open.
For starters, Ferguson says that the problem of match fixing in the world of tennis is a very real problem that’s been with the sport for quite some time. In his SI interview he elaborated saying:
There have been lengthy lists of suspicious matches handed to tennis authorities in the past, with many common names appearing time and time again, and it’s the same old story. Zero response or action from the Tennis Integrity Unit (or perhaps they have done plenty and found nothing—but with their magic cone of silence, we really don’t know and just have to assume they have done nothing).
While Ferguson definitely believes that tennis players aren’t above throwing a match every once in a while, he’s not so sure that wagering needed to be halted on this week’s match between Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot and Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero. Ferguson suggested that Pinnacle Sports, the bookmaker who halted the bets, was using the scandal for free publicity.
Feguson also suggests that the fact Pinnacle took the story to the New York Times, a paper that eviscerated the bookmaker in a series of exposes last summer, suggests that all is not as it should be with this story.