According to reports, Young Australian tennis star and former junior Grand Slam champion Oliver Anderson is found guilty of match fixing by an Australian court. He now receives a two-year good-behavior bond, a fine of AU$500 and a ruined career.
The 19-year-old Queenslander pleaded guilty to charges relating to the ATP Traralgon Challenger tournament in Victoria’s east in October. Anderson admitted on Tuesday morning to intentionally dropping the first set of a match and corrupting the outcome of the tennis match.
The suspicion began when Crownbet, an Australian online betting service saw an unusual activity. Someone tried to place a $10,000 bet on Lombe, Anderson’s opponent, to win the first set. It was unusual because at the time Lombe was 900 spots below Anderson in the ranking. They blocked the initial bet, but allowed another to pass through for $2,000 at 6-1 odds.
Shockingly, Anderson lost the first set 6-4. He went on to win the next two sets 6-0 6-2 in an eventual three set win. The game raised many eyebrows. He was arrested and charged two days later.
He escaped a criminal conviction for an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail time but was instead placed on a two-year adjourned undertaking regarding his behavior and previous track record (or lack thereof).
In a statement to the police after his arrest last year, Anderson said he agreed to the scheme when he realised that he could easily beat his first round draw opponent Harrison Lombe.
The reason behind Anderson’s despicable act and the identity of the man responsible for the fixing are still under investigation. To shed some light Anderson’s lawyer told the court the 19-year made a stupid and foolish decision because he needed fast money. In his defense, he argued that the Australian was under financial pressure after he signed a contract with a sponsor. Anderson felt his injuries at the time would cause him to come up short of meeting the appearances requirement in the sponsorship contract.
Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), responsible to handle such incidences had banned Anderson from competing in or attending any professional matches until the investigation was finished. The investigation is still underway. What’s left to see is what more would the Australian face.
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When asked about the case’s proceedings, Tennis Australia’s Peter Peterson said “With the TIU they’ll commence the matter internally and then it will get to the stage where it goes to a hearing officer, and the hearing officer will bring down whatever sanction they think is appropriate. The scope of the sanction is upwards to a maximum $250,000 fine and a potential lifetime ban.”
It is a despicable act and it tarnishes the sanctity of a sport. Magistrate Charles Tan said he is well aware of the impact match fixing has on sport. “The impact is far-reaching, not for one particular victim, but everyone who has placed a bet on the sporting contest, or any sporting contest,” he said.
This isn’t an isolated case of match fixing. There have been more and more cases seen in tennis. In a similar match-fixing scandal, Australian tennis player Nick Lindahl was banned for seven years and fined $35,000 for throwing a match in 2013. Even in the recent instances, the TIU has been ruthless in its efforts to curb the growing worldwide threat of match-fixing. They sentenced American Nikita Kryvonos to a 10-year ban and $26,700 fine last week.