Tennis officials have identified no wrongdoing by players at a mixed doubles event at the 2016 Australian Open.
This January, the New York Times published a report in which online sports betting operator Pinnacle Sports claimed it had halted wagering on a mixed doubles match at the Aussie Open based on an unusually large volume of bets placed shortly before the match was scheduled to start.
On Monday, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) responded to an inquiry by the Wall Street Journal regarding the tennis body’s investigation into the matter. The TIU said that specifics of its investigation would remain confidential, but that “no evidence of corrupt activity has been identified and no further action will be taken against any player involved in the match.”
The match in question involved Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Hlavackova, who handily dispatched David Marrero and Lara Arruabarrena in straight sets by a score of 6-0 and 6-3. Pinnacle had claimed that the majority of the wagers placed on the match were on Kubot and Klavackova to prevail. All the players involved denied any knowledge of or involvement in match-fixing chicanery.
Pinnacle’s claims of irregular betting patterns were not supported by other bookmakers, who reported no untoward betting activity on the Australian Open. Former Betfair exec Scott Ferguson went further, accusing Pinnacle Sports of concocting its claim as a “cheap grab at free publicity.”
Pinnacle’s claims came hot on the heels of the publication of a joint investigation by the BBC and BuzzFeed News that alleged widespread fixing in professional tennis. Eight of the players identified in the report were scheduled to compete in the 2016 Australian Open.
The brouhaha also played against the backdrop of the growing outcry over Australian betting operators skirting the country’s online in-play sports betting ban via voice-activated smartphone apps. The Aussie government has since announced a crackdown on the apps while upholding the online in-play betting ban.