On the 1st of October 2017, the world was rocked by allegations made by the tennis legend and 16-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova. In a tweet storm, she named the following seven tennis players as being involved in a “Tennis Match-Fixing Scandal”:
The Serb won his 20th Grand Slam title this year at the Australia Open. With 20 Grand Slam titles, he is currently the second best male player in the history of tennis. The 31-year-old has been in the top three of the world rankings for more than a decade and is currently ranked number three. After the allegations, he stated: “All I did was play tennis. I have never, ever thought about betting on tennis matches or fixing any tennis match.”
Nadal is the greatest clay-court player of all time and has won 17 Grand Slam titles. The 32-year-old has also won the Fed Cup seven times and is the current captain of the Spanish Davis Cup team. Nadal has repeatedly denied having anything to do with the rigging of tennis matches. He has also called it “a complete misunderstanding” that he would even think that anyone would suspect him of fixing a tennis match. In response to the allegations, he stated: “It’s really unfortunate that my name was mentioned in the tweets. I’ve never even thought about that, let alone tried to do that.”
The 18-time Grand Slam champion and one of the greatest ever players, Roger Federer, has also been linked to the tennis betting scandal. In 2017, he was named by the 75-year-old tennis legend as being involved in the match-fixing scandal. At the end of the year, he finally responded to the allegations and stated: “I have never nor would I ever think of cheating in any manner.” It has since come out that he placed several bets on tennis matches through online agencies between 2014 and 2016. In the UK alone, he is said to have lost approximately £2.5 million on tennis matches during that time period. The Swiss legend has always proudly proclaimed his innocence, adding: “I don’t know why I was even mentioned in that tweet. I think it’s a complete misunderstanding.”
British tennis player Andy Murray has also been linked to the tennis match-fixing scandal. In 2017, he was named by Bjorn Borg, the 75-year-old father of the game, as being involved in the betting scandal. In response to the revelations, he stated: “I’m not aware of any wrongdoing and certainly haven’t thought about trying to fix a match.” However, according to multiple reports, it has now been alleged that Murray did in fact try to rig a match when he was 17 years old and played in a tournament in France. He is reported to have wagered on a match that he needed to win to progress to the next round, and, according to tennis legend John McEnroe, Murray confessed to him that he had indeed tried to fix the match. McEnroe stated in an interview that he did not think Murray had changed, adding that “he’s like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going and going.”
Chinese tennis star Li Na has also been linked to the betting scandal. In 2017, she was named by the tennis legend Roy Emerson as being involved in the match-fixing scandal. In a rare interview, she denied having anything to do with fixing tennis matches, stating: “I have never, ever thought about betting on tennis matches or fixing any tennis match.” In November 2017, she was banned for two years from all tennis-related activities by the ITF. The 31-year-old has been involved in several injuries during her career, the most recent being a separated shoulder, and has had to undergo multiple surgeries. Despite this, she remains an extremely talented tennis player.
Jelena Kostova was born in Yugoslavia and, at the age of 15, won the bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in the category of S8 Shot Put, throwing the sliver of a javelin 38.75 meters. She went on to play for the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she studied kinesiology. In 2017, she was named by the New York Times as one of the five most promising American collegiate tennis players. In September 2017, she took a break from her studies at the University of Florida to play in the Women’s Tennis Association’s Fall Classic in Daphne, Alabama. There, she had a first-round bye and defeated Madison Brengle in the second round. Kostova has yet to comment publicly on the matter but has been seen at several Grand Slams since her return from Alabama. She remains an extremely promising young tennis player.
Another one of tennis’ most famous and successful players, Maria Sharapova, has also been named in the betting scandal. In 2015, she was named by the New York Times as one of the five most promising American collegiate tennis players. In an interview that year, she stated: “I would never even think about cheating or doing anything behind anyone’s back…I’ve always tried to play the game the right way.” The Russian tennis star and five-time Grand Slam champion has yet to comment publicly on the allegations, but she has since been seen at several Grand Slams and participated in the prestigious International Premier Tennis League. The 30-year-old remains one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.
Last but not least, we have Serena Williams. The 27-time Grand Slam champion is not only the greatest ever player in the history of tennis but is also one of the greatest ever athletes. On the 30th of September 2017, she was named by Maria Barthel as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Her father, Roger, stated that she would be “devastated” if she knew about the allegations regarding her name being involved in the betting scandal. He went on to say that “she’s had trouble with gambling her whole life.” The American football, baseball, and basketball player announced that she was retiring from competitive tennis in 2017 but accepted several coaching positions and endorsements once her retirement was over. She is currently ranked third in the world. In the wake of the scandal, she has yet to comment publicly but has since been seen at several Grand Slams and participated in several exhibition matches in the UK, including one against the defending champion Maria Sharapova. The greatest woman to ever play tennis. We will not forget.