February 11, 2016

Miami Open Player Acceptance List Announced

MiamiOpenTennis

MIAMI, Fl. (www.miamiopen.com) – The Miami Open received its 2016 official acceptance lists from the ATP and WTA tours.

All 76 of the top ranked men and 72 of the top 73 ranked women currently entered. The player field includes a combined 16 major singles champions, seven men and nine women all will be on display at the Crandon Park Tennis Center during the event’s two weeks, March 21- April 3.

The 2016 ATP acceptance list features World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, an 11-time Grand Slam winner and the two-time defending Miami Open champion, 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, two-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, and former US Open champions Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic.

The women’s field for 2016 just as fierce, featuring 21-time Grand Slam champion and eight-time Miami Open winner Serena Williams, seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka and two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 21-22 and will determine 12 additional slots in each singles draw. The Miami Open will also award wildcards to five men and eight women. The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 22 as the women take the court, followed by the first round of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 23.

2016 Miami Open – ATP Acceptance List

Name, Country, Rank

Novak Djokovic SRB 1

Andy Murray GBR 2

Roger Federer SUI 3

Stan Wawrinka SUI 4

Rafael Nadal ESP 5

David Ferrer ESP 6

Kei Nishikori JPN 7

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG 7 SR

Tomas Berdych CZE 8

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA 9

Richard Gasquet FRA 10

Milos Raonic CAN 11

John Isner USA 12

Marin Cilic CRO 13

Kevin Anderson RSA 14

Gilles Simon FRA 15

David Goffin BEL 16

Roberto Bautista Agut ESP 17

Gael Monfils FRA 18

Dominic Thiem AUT 19

Bernard Tomic AUS 20

Benoit Paire FRA 21

Viktor Troicki SRB 22

Jack Sock USA 23

Fabio Fognini ITA 24

Feliciano Lopez ESP 25

Ivo Karlovic 26

Grigor Dimitrov BUL 27

Jeremy Chardy FRA 28

Steve Johnson USA 29

Thomaz Bellucci BRA 30

Alexandr Dolgopolov UKR 31

Philipp Kohlschreiber GER 32

Joao Sousa POR 33

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP 34

Pablo Cuevas URU 35

Andreas Seppit ITA 36

Leonardo Mayer ARG 37

Borna Coric CRO 38

Tommy Robredo ESP 39

Janko Tipsarevic SRB 39 SR

Gilles Muller LUX 40

Vasek Pospisil CAN 41

Nick Kyrgios AUS 42

Martin Klizan SVK 43

Teymuraz Gabashvili RUS 44

Federico Delbonis ARG 45

Albert Ramos-Vinolas ESP 46

Lukas Rosol CZE 47

Donald Young 48

Adrian Mannarino FRA 49

Aljaz Bedene GBR 50

Jiri Vesely CZE 51

Paolo Lorenzi ITA 52

Andrey Kuznetsov RUS 53

Nicolas Mahut FRA 54

Juan Monaco ARG 55

Victor Estrella Burgos DOM 56

Brian Baker USA 56 SR

Fernando Verdasco ESP 57

Sam Querrey USA 58

Denis Kudla USA 59

Pablo Andujar ESP 60

Marcos Baghdatiss CYP 61

Simone Bolelli ITA 62

Robin Haase NED 63

Pablo Carreno Busta ESP 64

Denis Istomin UZB 65

John Millman AUS 66

Sergiy Stakhovsky UKR 67

Paul Henri-Mathieu FRA 68

Hyeon Chung KOR 69

Alexander Zverev GER 70

Guido Pella ARG 71

Nicolas Almagro ESP 72

Santiago Giraldo COL 73

Daniel Munoz de la Nava ESP 74

Inigo Cervantes ESP 75

Andreas Haider-Maurer AUT 76

2016 Miami Open – WTA Acceptance List

Name, Country, Rank

Serena Williams USA 1

Angelique Keber GER 2

Simona Halep ROU 3

Agnieszka Radwanska POL 4

Garbiñe Muguruza ESP 5

Maria Sharapova RUS 6

Carla Suarez Navarro ESP 8

Petra Kvitova CZE 9

Lucie Safarova CZE 10

Belinda Bencic SUI 11

Venus Williams USA 12

Karolina Pliskova CZE 13

Victoria Azarenka BLR 14

Timea Bacsinszky SUI 15

Roberta Vinci ITA 16

Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 17

Caroline Wozniacki  DEN 18

Jelena Jankovic SRB 19

Ana Ivanovic SRB 20

Elina Svitolina UKR 21

Sara ErraniITA 22

Andrea Petkovic GER 23

Madison Keys USA 24

Sloane Stephens USA 25

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS 26

Samantha Stosur AUS 27

Shuai Peng CHN 27 SR

Johanna Konta GBR 28

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova SVK 29

Kristina Mladenovic FRA 30

Ekaterina Makarova RUS 31

Sabine Lisicki GER 32

Daria Gavrilova AUS 33

Irina-Camelia Begu ROU 34

Lesia Tsurenko UKR 35

Alizé Cornet FRA 36

Monica Niculescu ROU 37

Caroline Garcia FRA 38

Annika Beck GER 39

Camila Giorgi ITA 40

Barbora Strycova CZE 41

Alison Van Uytvanck BEL 42

Margarita Gasparyan RUS 43

Teliana Pereira BRA 44

Mona Barthel GER 45

Coco Vandeweghe USA 46

Monica Puig PUR 47

Johanna Larsson SWE 48

Varvara Lepchenko USA 49

Danka Kovinic MNE 50

Timea Babos HUN 51

Anna-Lena Friedsam GER 52

Julia Goerges GER 53

Alexandra Dulgheru ROU 54

Yanina Wickmayer BEL 55

Nao Hibino JPN 56

Petra Cetkovska CZE 56 SR

Madison Brengle USA 57

Eugenie Bouchard CAN 58

Denisa Allertover CZE 59

Karin Knapp ITA 60

Misaki Doi JPN 61

Christina McHale USA 62

Daria Kasatkina RUS 63

Yulia Putintseva KAZ 64

Galina Voskoboeva KAZ 64 SR

Shuai Zhang CHN 65

Dominika Cibulkova SVK 66

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni CRO 67

Zarina Diyas KAZ 68

Kirsten Flipkens BEL 69

Saisai Zheng CHN 70

Lucie Hradecka CZE 71

Kateryna Bondarenko UKR 72

Olga Govortsova BLR 73

Vania King USA 73 SR

About the Miami Open presented by Itaú

The 2016 Miami Open will be played March 21-April 3 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar,

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Rafael Nadal To Return To The Queen’s Club In June

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

(February 9, 2016) Rafael Nadal will return to the grass of the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, 13th-19th June.
The 14-time Grand Slam title winner lifted the Aegon Championships as part of an unprecedented treble with the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2008. He joins defending champion Andy Murray in the line-up.
“I love playing at The Queen’s Club and I am very happy that I will be back this year,” said Nadal. “I will never forget winning the title in 2008, it was a special moment, and going on to win my first Wimbledon. It is a very important tournament, very well organised and on some of the best grass courts in the world. Holding that trophy again would be amazing although I am well aware of the difficulties because the tournament always has so many good players. With Wimbledon just one week after, it is also important to be playing at Queen’s because it offers the perfect conditions and allows me to be with the British fans who always have given me great support.”
Nadal has played at The Queen’s Club six times before. On the five occasions that he reached the Wimbledon final, he played at The Queen’s Club beforehand (2006, ’07, ’08, ’10 and ’11).
Tournament Director Stephen Farrow said:
“For Rafael Nadal to join our field of players so early is a huge boost to the Aegon Championships. He is one of greatest and most popular players that has ever picked up a tennis racquet, and we know that our ticket-holders will be excited at the prospect of seeing him. He will join our defending champion Andy Murray at The Queen’s Club, and we look forward to welcoming them both in June.
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand, Sponsorship and Digital Marketing Aegon UK said: “Rafael Nadal is a global superstar and everyone loves watching him play, so this is fantastic news for the Aegon Championships. We very much looking forward to seeing him on the beautiful grass of The Queen’s Club in June.
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Statement from Tennis Governing Bodies – Tennis Announces Independent Review

(January 26, 2016) Tennis’ governing bodies announced on Wednesday at the Australian Open that they will assign an independent review of their Tennis Integrity Unit to try and regain “public confidence” in the sport after the BBC and BuzzFeed News reported match-fixing involving top 50 players.

Here is the press release sent to media:

Statement from Tennis Governing Bodies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 January, 2016 AEDT
Tennis Announces Independent Review
 Independent Review Panel will:
o review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP)
o take into account public commentary regarding the processes, procedures and resources
o make recommendations for change
 Adam Lewis QC to head Independent Review Panel (IRP)
 Commitment to fund and implement all actions recommended by the IRP
(Melbourne, Australia, 27 January 2016) The Chairmen and CEOs of the Governing Bodies of International Tennis – ATP, WTA, ITF and the Grand Slam Board – today announced an independent review headed by Adam Lewis QC aimed at further safeguarding the integrity of the game.
The Independent Review Panel will review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program and make recommendations for change. In conducting the review, the IRP will take into account public commentary regarding the processes, procedures and resources of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The Governing Bodies of International Tennis said they expect the IRP to address issues including:
 How the TIU can be more transparent without compromising the TIU’s need for investigative confidentiality
 Additional resources for the TIU both within the unit and at tournaments
 Structural and/or governance changes that enhance the independence of the TIU
 How to extend the scope and reach of the tennis integrity education program.
The Governing Bodies of International Tennis commit to make the outcomes and recommendations of the IRP publicly available and to implement and fund all the actions recommended by the IRP.
Adam Lewis QC is recognised as the leading expert on sports law at the London Bar. He co-edits the principal textbook, Sport: Law and Practice, lectures on sports law and regularly chairs various sports tribunals, and acts as an arbitrator.
Mr Lewis will be assisted on the Independent Review Panel by two members that he will select and appoint to reflect the global nature of the sport.
The IRP will report to the Governing Bodies of International Tennis. An interim report will be provided by the IRP.
“This review will build on the 2008 Environmental Report that saw tennis become one of the first major sports to establish its own dedicated anti-corruption unit. Since 2010, the Tennis Integrity Unit-instigated anti-corruption investigations have resulted in 18 successful disciplinary cases being brought forward including life bans for five players and one official,’’ the statement said.

All professional players, support staff and officials are subject to the terms of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program which equips the TIU with substantial investigative powers. These include the right to interview any relevant person of interest and obtain their telephone, computer and bank records.
“Tennis remains one of the leaders in integrity. We have a zero-tolerance approach to all aspects of corruption and all of us are absolutely committed to rooting out corruption whatever it takes.
“The environment for all major sports, including tennis, has changed dramatically over the past eight years and combined with issues raised in the media, we believe now is the right time to review how we continue to fight corruption in the game.
“Given the seriousness of the issue, we call on all governments worldwide to make match fixing a distinct criminal offence, resourced by national crime fighting agencies working in cooperation with sports integrity boards and other relevant stakeholders.”

Signed by:
Chris Kermode, ATP Chairman
Steve Simon, WTA CEO
David Haggerty, ITF President
Stephen Healy, Australian Open Chairman
Jean Gachassin, Roland Garros Chairman
Katrina Adams, US Open Chairman
Philip Brook, Tennis Integrity Board Chairman and Wimbledon Chairman

Related Articles:

Media Statement From Tennis’ Governing Bodies in Reaction to BBC and BuzzFeed News’s Report on Match Fixing
In Their Own Words – Players Reactions to Allegations of Match Fixing
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In Their Own Words – Players Reactions to Allegations of Match Fixing

(January 18, 2016) On Monday at the Australian Open, players were asked to respond about allegations cited in reports by BBC and BuzzFeed News that tennis authorities have suppressed evidence of match fixing and ignored possible cases involving players ranked in the top 50, including winners of majors in singles and doubles.

 

Here are some of the reactions from players in their news conferences which include Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, as well as the specific questions asked.

 

Are you aware of reports today that there is possibly match fixing allegations within professional tennis? Would you be surprised to learn of something like this happening?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just heard about it today, just as a warning that I might be asked about it. But that’s literally all I have heard about it.

Have you ever seen any hint of that, any indications of that at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not that I’m aware of. When I’m playing, I can only answer for me, I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard.

I think that, you know, we go –you know, as an athlete, I do everything I can to be not only great, but, you know, historic. You know, if that’s going on, I don’t know about it. You know, I’m kind of sometimes in a little bit of a bubble.

 

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

There was a report today which suggested there was a problem with match fixing in tennis. Would you be surprised to learn there was a problem with match fixing on the tour?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it is. I didn’t know anything. It’s a little bit surprised, but, I mean, obviously I never, you know, involve with this. Actually I have no idea what’s going on.

So it’s — yeah.

 

We all turned up today to see the reports of the allegations of match fixing in tennis. What is your take on it? None of these players have been identified. Do you feel bad that it casts a shadow over everybody?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t think so. Honestly I’ve heard about the story and I read that there were a couple of players mentioned who are not active anymore, talking about the matches that have happened almost 10 years ago.

Of course, there is no room for any match fixing or corruption in our sport. We’re trying to keep it as clean as possible. We have, I think, a sport evolved and upgraded our programs and authorities to deal with these particular cases.

I don’t think the shadow is cast over our sport. In contrary, people are talking about names, guessing who these players are, guessing those names. But there’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players, for that matter. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation. So I think we have to keep it that way.

Q. In 2007 you were quoted as saying you’d been offered $200,000 to throw a first-round match in St. Petersburg. I believe you didn’t actually even play in the tournament. Can you clarify that and tell us what happened.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was not approached directly. I was approached — well, me personally. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team. Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.

Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumors, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar.

I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that.

Q. As a young player on your way up, how did that make you feel, even be indirectly associated with it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this kind of — you know, somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, that’s an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport honestly. I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.

But, you know, I always have been taught and have been surrounded with people that had nurtured and, you know, respected the sport’s values. That’s the way I’ve grown up. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to, you know, get directly involved in these particular situations.

Q. (Question regarding attending Zupska Berba wine festival with friend Ilija Bozoljac.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m not so sure. Yeah, Ilija is a good friend of mine. I grew up with him. I drink more water than wine, I must say. So although I like to enjoy every once in a while a glass of wine, not more than that.

I’m sure it’s a great festival. For now I don’t really have time. But I do enjoy my life. I don’t know if you question that. But I assure you that I enjoy my life.

Q. You’re someone who takes your role as an ambassador for the sport really seriously. You care about the message you put out there. Does it make you uncomfortable at all that this Grand Slam has a betting company as one of its big sponsors? There’s so many ads, even on Twitter.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is a subject for discussion, I think, today and in the future. It’s a fine line. Honestly it’s on a borderline, I would say. Whether you want to, you know, have betting companies involved in the big tournaments in our sport or not, you know, it’s hard to say what’s right and what’s wrong.

One of the reasons why tennis is a popular and clean sport is because it has always valued its integrity. Protecting that integrity was one of the highest priorities of each and every leadership that was part of the association. I think especially in the Grand Slams that are and always have been the most valued and respected and known tennis tournaments around the world throughout the history of this sport.

You know, I know that there is also many betting companies that on the websites are using the names, the brands, images of tournaments and players and matches in order to profit from that. Tennis hasn’t been really getting the piece of that cake, if you know what I mean.

It’s hard to say. I don’t have yet the stand and clear opinion about that. I think it is a subject of discussion. We’ll see what happens.

Q. We’ve known you for a long time. You always tell it like it is. But how can tennis go to some 137th ranked player who has been struggling on the circuit and tell him don’t double-fault, don’t throw a point here or there, when the top officials themselves go to a betting company and take that money and send an obvious mixed message to everyone?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s the first time that I hear something like that. Obviously I can’t speak about that from this position where I don’t have the support of the facts and information and evidence, you know. Obviously you hear some stories here and there.

From my knowledge and information about, you know, the match fixing or anything similar, there is nothing happening on the top level, as far as I know. Challenger level, those tournaments, maybe, maybe not. But, you know, I’m not entitled to really talk about it. I can give my opinion. But there is an organization, authorities, people who take care of that on a daily basis and make sure to track it down.

It’s always a choice for a tennis player, an athlete or any person in life. You know, even though it seems that you don’t, but you always have a choice, especially for somebody who is on the tennis court, whether or not you’re going to accept something that is going against everything that the sport stands for.

I would always make the right choice. But I can only speak on my own behalf.

 

 

I’m sure you’ve heard that today there’s been new stories and allegations about match fixing in tennis. As a lot of it happened under your watch when you were head of the Player Council, what is your latest take on it?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know exactly how much new things came out, to be quite honest. I heard old names being dropped. That story was checked out. Clearly you got to take it super serious, you know, like they did back in the day. Since we have the Integrity Unit, it puts more pressure on them that a story like this broke again.

But I don’t know how much new things there is out there. It’s just really important that all the governing bodies and all the people involved take it very seriously, that the players know about it. There’s more pressure on these people now maybe because of this story, which is a good thing.

Under my watch, I mean, we discussed it early on. I actually never heard about it until it was brought up at a player meeting when somebody came and spoke about it. I was like, Okay, came totally from left field. Had no clue what it was about. Didn’t sort of know it existed. I hadn’t been approached.

Doesn’t matter whether I’ve been approached or not, I haven’t. It’s a bit farfetched, all these things. Clearly for a few years now we know this is very serious. Got to do everything about it to keep the sport clean. It’s vital, there’s no doubt about it.

You made your views clear on not being probably spent enough on doping, anti-doping. Do you think there’s enough being done with the TIU, enough resources and men?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know the numbers. Really, you can always do more. It’s like I can always train more. There’s always more you can do. So a story like this is only going to increase the pressure. Hopefully there’s more funding to it. That’s about it. Same as doping. Yes, absolutely, got to be super aggressive in both areas, no doubt about it.

You’ve always called for a level playing field in tennis or other sports. But still perception is so important. How can tennis ask players not to be involved in gambling and yet take one sponsorship deal after another and have big signage promoting betting companies at events?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. It’s a tough one, you know, to talk about one or the other. In some ways they’re connected. In some ways they’re not connected at all. It depends on how you really look at it.

Betting happens all across the world in all the sports. The players just need to know, we need to make sure the integrity of the game is always maintained because without that, I always would say, why do you come and watch this match tonight or any match, because you just don’t know the outcome. As long as we don’t know the outcome, the players, fans, it’s going to be exciting. The moment that gets taken away, there’s no point anymore to be in the stadium.

That’s why it’s super important to keep it clean. In terms of having sponsors around there, I guess there is a lot of money there. Maybe, who knows, could it be helpful maybe? I don’t know. This is a question for more people in suits than a guy in a track suit, I don’t know.

If you got wind of someone you knew was offered or fixing matches, would you tell the authorities straightaway?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, well, I guess so. It’s important that person, how he’s been approached. He needs to feel he’s been supported by the tour, or whatever the governing body is, that there’s a place he can go and speak about it. It’s uncomfortable, not a fun thing. It’s not like, Oh, I’ve just been approached, it’s all cool, and we don’t talk about it.

I think it’s really important that you get supported and get also told how to manage that. So, yes, I guess I would encourage that person to go and say something, otherwise I would say something or I would encourage us to go together or whatever. I would be very helpful in this situation because it’s a very tricky situation to be in.

Is there anything inside the ATP that talks to younger players, older players, that gives advice on how to deal with people who approach them about match fixing?
ROGER FEDERER: You have the ATP University I went to. It was a three-day training thing. I had it in Monaco back in the day. I know they still have it at the end of the year. There was a time they stopped doing it. They were more handing out CDs and explaining everything. It was about everything: how you handle the press, how you handle financially maybe down the road, your fitness, the tour in general. They explain how things are done. Then part of that definitely today is this one as well, the doping issues as well. It’s just like with the whereabouts you, how important, how serious it is. They educate you there.

So I’m sure match fixing is also a priority in those meetings. All the guys that came up, I don’t know exactly the age, like the first to break into the top 100 maybe, or you’re close to that, you get asked to do it. You have to come and show up at the end of the year, which is a great thing. I wasn’t in favor of them handing out CDs because that just ends up being in a drawer at home. They’re taking it serious again like they did with me back in the day.

Honestly, for me it was very helpful to be there. I wasn’t happy to go there in the first place, but I made friends there. I felt supported by the tour. I learned things. For me it was more about the press, how to handle that, to see the press as an intermediary from us to the fans rather than looking at the press as the bad guy.

For me it was very educational. I hope it’s the same thing for the young guys coming up.

When you’re not top 100 or 150, it’s tough to stay alive on the circuit without finding other ways. That’s probably the reason why, even if we wouldn’t accept, it happens. Don’t you think the problem should be to find some more money for those people who are not top 100? Challengers, minor tournaments, it’s there where they try to fix.
ROGER FEDERER: I completely disagree with you. I think you don’t understand. It doesn’t matter how much money you pump into the system, there’s always going to be people approaching players, or people, any sport. It’s all a question of money, you know.

It doesn’t maybe happen at the challengers. It’s going to happen at the futures. It’s going to go away if you offer $1 million for every player to play at every tournament? It’s not going to change a thing.

Still might be approached. That’s why I think you’re wrong there, that more money there is going to solve the issue completely.

I agree we should have more money at futures, challengers, all these levels. But it’s not going to solve the issue. The issue is elsewhere, in the player’s mind.

Among the allegations in the report was some of the suspected match fixers were Grand Slam singles and doubles players. Is it surprising, that element, that they’re saying Grand Slam champions are being involved?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it’s like who, what. It’s like thrown around. It’s so easy to do that.

I would like to hear the name. I would love to hear names. Then at least it’s concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which slam? It’s so all over the place. It’s nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation.

Like I said, it’s super serious and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport. So how high up does it go? The higher it goes, the more surprised I would be, no doubt about it. Not about people being approached, but just people doing it in general. I just think there’s no place at all for these kind of behaviors and things in our sport. I have no sympathy for those people.

 

Today there are a lot of discussions and debates about this match fixing story that came out. Of course, people like you who are top 100 or 10 or so were never in the position to survive getting fixed matches. What do you think? Do you think it exists at the minor level, when someone has to stay from 120 to 180 for five, six years, having to pay maybe a coach, transportation?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, honestly, I really hope not. I mean, to me the sport itself has always meant a lot more than money. I know that the more successful you are and the more matches you win, the more prize money, the more money you will receive.

But ultimately that’s never been my personal driving factor in the sport. There’s just so much more on the line. There’s the competitiveness. There’s the challenge of being better. There’s playing in front of thousands of people, playing you against somebody across the net and you trying to win that match.

When you’re out there, it’s not about money.

 

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

What I’m asking is, when you are not a player of your standard, playing in front of thousands of people.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t think it really matters what level you are. The sport itself is meaningful. It’s our career. It’s our job. I mean, I guess I can only speak for myself, but we want to succeed at it by improving, by getting better, by beating our own best, and not by anything else.

That’s how I would hope everyone else would think, as well. Make it a better and more competitive sport.

We have the situation where tennis, to its great credit, asks players at all levels not to be involved in gambling. Yet our leading organizations go out and get their own money, so to speak, but getting sponsorships from Betway and other companies. Players aren’t willing to say that’s a bad thing.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I personally don’t understand that. It’s not that I’m for or against it. As you know, I’ve had many great opportunities to work with great brands in my career. That’s just not a direction that I’ve ever followed. I don’t even know if I’ve had the chance, because I know my management would shut that down very fast. It’s so far away from any of my interests, everything I want to be a part of and the people I want to work with. It has to be true and real. That’s just not something I would ever associate myself with.

My question is, with all respect, do you think in terms of the sporting public out there, do you think it’s a problem to have signage and sponsors that say betting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not in their seat. I’m not in the organization’s seat. It’s tough for me to speak about it.

 

Sam Stosur

Q. The match fixing allegations, Novak said his team historically had been approached to throw a match. Have you ever been?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Never been asked. Never heard of anyone being asked. Don’t know anything about it.

Related Article:

Media Statement From Tennis’ Governing Bodies in Reaction to BBC and BuzzFeed News’s Report on Match Fixing

 

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Media Statement From Tennis’ Governing Bodies in Reaction to BBC and BuzzFeed News’s Report on Match Fixing

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(January 18, 2016) The Tennis Integrity Unit along with tennis’ governing bodies the ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slam Board, has issued a statement in reaction to a report by BBC and BuzzFeed News about match fixing in tennis.

The article says without naming names that 16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 have been flagged to the integrity unit, but were allowed to keep playing.

The Tennis Integrity Unit was formed in 2008 as a joint collaboration of the ITF, the ATP, the WTA and the Grand Slam Board.

At a news conference at the Australian Open, which began on Monday in Melbourne, ATP chairman Chris Kermode said “absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason, or isn’t being investigated.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 18 January, 2016 AEST  

Tennis rejects suggestion evidence of match fixing suppressed

 The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason

 In its investigations the Tennis Integrity Unit has to find evidence as opposed to information, suspicion or hearsay

 A year-long investigation into the Sopot match in 2007 found insufficient evidence. As the BuzzFeed report states: “the investigators had hit a brick wall. It just wasn’t possible to determine who the guilty party was in relation to this match”  All professional players, support staff and officials are subject to the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program  Tennis Integrity Unit-instigated anti-corruption investigations have resulted in 18 successful disciplinary cases including five players and one official who have been banned from the sport for life.

In response to match fixing allegations aired on BBC News and BuzzFeed online, the four governing bodies of tennis (ATP, WTA, Grand Slam Board, ITF) who are partners in the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), said today that there is a zero-tolerance approach to all aspects of corruption and that they are and will continue to be firmly committed to protecting the integrity of the sport.

Speaking on behalf of the partners, Chris Kermode, Executive Chairman of the ATP and Tennis Integrity Board member, said: “Tennis remains fully committed to meeting the challenge that all sports face from corrupt betting practices. We have stringent procedures and sanctions in place to deal with any suspected corruption and have shown we will act decisively when our integrity rules are broken.

“No player or official is immune from investigation, regardless of their status or position in the sport. Investigations follow where evidence leads” Mr Kermode said.

“All professional players, support staff and officials are subject to the terms of the Tennis AntiCorruption Program (TACP) which equips the TIU with substantial investigative powers. These include the right to interview any relevant person of interest and obtain their telephone, computer and bank records.

“No player or official is ever cleared by the TIU of potential involvement in corruption. By its very nature, corruption is difficult to prove, so while the process can often be lengthy, the TIU will continue to pursue evidence where it believes it is warranted.”

In 2011 the TIU opened an investigation into a player that was subsequently placed on-hold for lack of substantive evidence. When new evidence was obtained in 2013, the player was charged and found guilty of three breaches of the TACP. He was suspended for a period of

five years and fined US$25,000. A subsequent appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in early 2014 was dismissed and the original sanction upheld.

“For four years the TIU continued to pursue this case; time and effort that was vindicated by removing a corrupt player from the game for a substantial period of time” Mr. Kermode said.

“We remain open and willing to upgrade any or all of the anti-corruption systems we have in place if we need to.”

In September 2008 the four tennis associations came together to streamline and strengthen corruption investigations becoming one of the first major sports to establish its own dedicated anti-corruption unit. The Tennis Investigation Unit is charged with enforcing the sport’s zerotolerance policy towards gambling-related corruption worldwide.

Since 2010, TIU-instigated anti-corruption investigations have resulted in 18 successful disciplinary cases being brought forward.

These prosecutions include five players and one official who have been banned from the sport for life.

Each of the 18 cases was a result of TIU-instigated investigations, rather than law enforcement or judicial prosecutions, or sting or entrapment operations.

Where cases have been appealed by players to the Court for Arbitration in Sport, the original period of suspension handed down by an independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer has been upheld. This reinforces the robustness of the original investigation and the strength of evidence gathered by TIU.

The TIU online anti-corruption player education program is mandatory and has been completed by more than 23,000 professional players.

“There are nearly 21,000 active professional players and over 2,100 officials, playing and officiating in over 1,500 tournaments in 80 countries around the world. The vast majority of these individuals are good people of high integrity,” Mr Kermode said.

“Unfortunately, there is always a minority who seek personal gain from corrupt activity. Those individuals will continue to be subject to investigation by the TIU and disciplinary sanctions which include lifetime bans and punitive financial penalties.”

Background:

Environmental review of integrity in professional tennis In 2008, the governing bodies of tennis commissioned an independent investigation by two leading experts into the integrity of the sport. As part of their review they examined 73 matches:  Carrying out a detailed analysis of betting records;  Overlaying the betting spread sheet over the umpire’s score sheet to take account of betting during play;  Interviewing players, officials and witnesses;  Examining telephone records and forensically examining handsets;  Analysing telephone records when received (not straightforward as usually foreign service providers); and  Interviewing account holders involved in the suspicious betting patterns.

The report, published in May 2008, found that professional tennis is not institutionally or systematically corrupt. However, there were intelligence indications that some players are vulnerable to corrupt approaches and there are people outside tennis who seek to corrupt those within the sport.

The report made 15 recommendations including the creation of an Integrity Unit.

http://www.sportingintelligence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Integrity-intennis.pdf

Tennis Integrity Unit In September 2008 the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) was formed as a joint initiative of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the Grand Slam Board and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Currently under the leadership of Director of Integrity Nigel Willerton, a former senior detective with the Metropolitan Police in London, the Unit has a global brief to protect the sport from all forms of betting-related corrupt practices.

The TIU works on a confidential basis and makes no public comment on its work other than to confirm the outcome of an investigation that results in disciplinary action being taken. It is operationally independent from the governing bodies of tennis and works on a global basis from its base in London. In protecting the integrity of world tennis it has a remit that covers:

 Prevention: Working closely with Governing Bodies and Tournament Directors to implement integrity protocols designed to restrict unauthorised access to players and maintain their privacy. Preventing corruption from taking place includes identification of would-be corruptors targeting players, coaches, officials or others with potential influence.

 Education: Explaining the tactics and approaches used by potential corruptors forms part of the TIU’s education program for players and support staff. All players are made aware of these risks and the responses required under the terms of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. Protecting innocent players from unfounded and malicious allegations of corrupt practice is another important role.

 Investigation: The TIU has a range of investigative powers that it can bring to bear in any matter of concern that it identifies or that is brought to its attention. Investigation can include any of the following elements:

– Analysis of betting data and patterns. The Unit works closely with reputable betting organisations to access, investigate and verify data. – Interviews with any person implicated in allegations. – Production of records from any person covered by the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.

The TIU can launch an investigation at any time at its own discretion. To maintain the confidentiality requirements of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, the Unit does not announce, comment on or confirm any of its investigative activities. The only time public comment is made is after a Hearing has taken place and there has been a finding against a player or other person under the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.

 Disciplinary sanctions: sanctions for proven breaches of the Anti-Corruption Program are delivered by nominated Anti-Corruption Hearing Officers appointed by the sport’s Governing Bodies. Depending on the seriousness of the breach, player sanctions can include: – US$250,000 fine plus an amount equal to the value of any winnings or other amounts received in connection with the offence. – A lifetime ban from participating in any event organised or sanctioned by any tennis Governing Body. Penalties can be subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

http://www.tennisintegrityunit.com/

Tennis Anti-Corruption Program The purpose of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program is to: (i) Maintain the integrity of tennis; (ii) Protect against any efforts to impact improperly the results of any match; and (iii) Establish a uniform rule and consistent scheme of enforcement and sanctions applicable to all professional tennis Events and to all Governing Bodies

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins Auckland

Bautista Agut

(January 16, 2016) Eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut won the ASB Classic on Saturday in Auckland when his Jack Sock retired trailing 6-1, 1-0. Sock said he was having “flu-like” symptoms.

The Spaniard, who won his third career ATP World Tour title, knocked out two-time champion John Isner in the quarterfinals and saved a match point in his victory over No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the semis.

“I feel so happy,” said the world No. 25 after the match. “I think I had an amazing week. I had plenty of good wins, played wonderful tennis here. I feel sorry for Jack and I want to congratulate him because he had a really great year last year, and I want to wish him luck for the rest of this season.”

Sock defeated four-time Auckland champion, world No. 8 David Ferrer in the semifinals, his second top ten win of his career.

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ATP Announces 2017 and 2018 Calendars

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From the ATP World Tour: (January 13, 2016)LONDON – The ATP has released its 2017 and 2018 calendars on the back of a record-breaking season in 2015 that attracted a global broadcast audience of 973 million viewers, a 10% growth on the previous year.

Combined with the ATP’s weekly magazine show, ATP World Tour Uncovered, which drew a viewership of 60 million, ATP events attracted in excess of 1 billion viewers globally in 2015. The 2015 season also saw an all-time on-site attendance record, with 4.5 million fans attending ATP events across the season.

The 2017 & 2018 calendar represent a continuation of the current calendar, underpinned by the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, 13 ATP World Tour 500s, and 40 ATP World Tour 250s, with all roads leading to the spectacular season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

“Our current structure of tournaments, as well as this phenomenal generation of players, has generated a significant growth in audiences in recent years,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “We’re delighted to have seen that trend continue in 2015, and to confirm our calendars through to 2018 as we look to ensure a period of stability and sustained growth for the Tour.”

While the cornerstones of the calendar remain the same, the ATP World Tour is set to expand into new markets, as early as 2016, reaching a total of 32 countries:

–    Bulgaria (Garanti Koza Sofia Open) will host its first ever ATP World Tour tournament in February following the relocation of the tournament in Zagreb, Croatia, to Sofia.
–    Mexico (Abierto Mexicano Los Cabos) will host a second ATP World Tour tournament following the relocation of the tournament in Bogota, Colombia, to Los Cabos.
–    Belgium (European Open) will host an ATP World Tour event for the first time since 1998 following the relocation of the tournament in Valencia, Spain, to Antwerp.
–    From 2017, a second grass court tournament will be held the week before Wimbledon, alongside Nottingham. A separate announcement relating to this tournament will follow in due course.

An updated 2016 ATP World Tour calendar, as well as the 2017 & 2018 calendars can be found here.

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Stan Wawrinka Three-peats in Chennai

(January 10, 2016) Stan Wawrinka completed the first three-peat in tournament history when he bested Borna Coric in the final of Chennai 6-3, 7-5. For the world No. 4, it’s his fourth Chennai title and 11th career ATP title. The Swiss now has a 12-match winning streak in Chennai.

For the 19-year-old Coric, he was the first teenage finalist since Marin Cilic in 2008 at New Haven.

“I’m really happy to win the match the way I played today,” said the 30-year-old. “Again it was in two sets as it has been all tournament. The crowd was amazing. They give amazing support every year.

“I’m always trying to improve. I’m trying to move better, trying to play more aggressive with a better forehand and serve better. I’m very happy with my serve this week. I’m happy to get the trophy again. It’s a great feeling.”

“It was a great week for me here,” the world No. 44 Coric said. “I arrived a couple days before the event and got some great practice in the heat.

“Obviously facing Stan in my first final was a tough challenge. Nevertheless I’m very happy with my week and the start into the season.”

“It was my first final so I was bound to make some mistakes,” said the young Croatian. “Stan played an unbelievable match.”

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Milos Raonic Reverses Last Year’s Result Against Roger Federer to Win Brisbane International

 

(January 10, 2016) Milos Raonic exacted some revenge on Roger Federer on Sunday. In a rematch of last year’s Brisbane International final, the Canadian reversed last year’s loss to claim the title 6-4, 6-4 over the Swiss. This is just Raonic’s second win over the 17-time major champion in 11 meetings. It’s Raonic’s eighth career ATP title.

“It feels great,” said Raonic. “It feels great considering how the past nine months have been. It adds a sort of cherry on top to all that. [The win] does great things. For myself it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is.

“At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in to Melbourne that I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.

“Against him it’s always about who can dictate. I felt that other than maybe one service game where I double faulted three times, I was staying quite a bit ahead on my serve and always close on his, except for one that I lost at love. I felt like most of the other ones I was getting to 30. I was giving myself opportunities and then was able to capitalize twice.”

“I definitely didn’t play my best, because when you play a big sever first you focus on your own game, and then see what you can do on his game,” Federer said. The No. 3 player postponed his opening match of tournament due to the flu. “Both sides were not really happening. I was struggling on the serve. Quite inconsistent. He’s a good aggressive player. It was just not happening.

“Considering the week I’ve had, I’m actually quite happy. That’s why I’m not down or anything or disappointed. If I would’ve known I would’ve made the finals five days ago I would’ve been unbelievably happy.”

In an ironic twist, Raonic’s former coach is now a part of Federer’s coaching team – Ivan Ljubicic. Ljubicic was with Federer this week.

The 25-year-old Raonic, after parting with Ljubicic late last year, has added former No. 1 Carlos Moya as part of his team which includes Riccardo Piatti.

The Canadian starts off the year positively, wiping away the end of last year when he was sidelined with injuries during parts of the year. He missed the French Open with a foot injury. He was forced completely off the tour for the last three weeks with a back problem.

“(The win) it does great things – it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is.”

“At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne, you know, I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.”

“Hopefully, a better year this year than last,” said Raonic. “Every single year until now my ranking had been going up. That’s the thing I was most proud of. To see that slip was hard to accept and also very motivating.”

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Novak Djokovic Claims 60th Title with Win Over Rafael Nadal in Doha

 

(January 9, 2016) For Novak Djokovic’s  career 2015 season, the only tournament final he did not reach was Doha. He was upset in the quarterfinals by Ivo Karlovic. The No. 1 made up for not reaching the final last year by winning the title this year, dominating Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2 for his 60th career title. He has now reached 16 straight finals.

For Djokovic he became just the 10th player in the Open Era to earn 60 titles. He is tied with Andre Agassi and sits just two behind Guillermo Vilas at 62.

This was an Open Era 47th meeting between two players. The victory gives the Serbian a 24-23 edge over the Spaniard for the first time. Djokovic has won 11 straight sets over Nadal since the 2014 Roland Garros final.

“It did feel as close to perfection as it can get,” Djokovic said of the 73-minute match. “Obviously from the first to the last point I managed to impose my own tactical approach and strategy and what I have kind of prepared myself for, and the conditions were played to my favor. I just came out on the court with the right intention, with the right intensity, and with a great deal of confidence, as well, that I carried from the last season playing against him in the last couple of matches as well winning in straight sets.”

“The match is easy to analyze,” Nadal said. “I played against a player who did everything perfect. I don’t know anybody who played tennis like this ever. Since I know this sport I never saw somebody playing at this level. So I just congratulate him and that’s it. I know I can do a few things better, but the real thing is, with these conditions playing during the night and with the feeling of the ball here, it’s so difficult to have chances against him playing like this.”

Djokovic is a dominant 85-5 over the past 52 weeks and is 33-5 against the Top 10 in that time period.
Next stop for both men will be the first major of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne which begins on January 18.

 

Over in Chennai, Stan Wawrinka is looking to win a third straight Chennai Open title. He’ll take on Borna Coric in the final on Sunday. Coric, at 19 has become the youngest finalist since Kei Nishikori in 2008 at Delray Beach.

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