Players quizzed after fixing claims over tie

  • AFP, Melbourne
  • Updated: Jan 26, 2016 15:12 IST
A file photo of photo of David Marrero with his partner Lara Arruabarrena at the Australian Open. (AFP Photo)

Two players at the Australian Open said on Monday they have been interviewed by officials over reports their opponents may have deliberately lost their first round mixed doubles fixture, fuelling fresh fears of match-fixing in tennis.

The remarks by Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Hlavackova came after the New York Times reported an online bookmaker had suspended gambling on the lowly match because of unusual betting patterns.

All players involved in the match rejected the claims of a fix.

The allegation by betting firm Pinnacle Sports came after the BBC and BuzzFeed said last week players who had been in the sport’s top 50 had repeatedly fallen under suspicion but had never faced action, citing leaked files.

The New York Times report on Sunday was dampened, however, by two major betting companies saying they had detected no suspicious activity.

Kubot and Hlavackova defeated Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero of Spain 6-0, 6-3 before bowing out in the second round.

“I just spoke with TIU (Tennis Integrity Unit)... and I will keep that confidential,” Poland’s Kubot told reporters on Monday, with his Czech partner Hlavackova also confirming she met with TIU officials. Both said they had never been involved in a match where they thought anything was wrong.

Curacao-based Pinnacle was not immediately available to confirm the report. Arruabarrena and Marrero, meanwhile, rejected any possibility of match-fixing, according to the New York Times.

The TIU did not immediately respond to queries from AFP, and Melbourne police would not comment on the case specifically. The Sydney Morning Herald, however, reported that gambling firms William Hill and Betfair kept betting open for the match and reported no unusual activity.

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