Britain's former US Open junior champion Oliver Golding has revealed that he was once approached to fix a tennis match with an offer of €2,000 (£1,794).
Golding reported the incident — which happened nearly four years ago — but said a lack of support from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) would make him think twice about doing so again.
‘You hear about these sort of things happening and you’re aware it is a problem but it wasn’t a situation I’d found myself in before,’ Golding told ITN News.
The incident occurred at an obscure, bottom-level ‘Futures’ event in Greece offering a total purse of $10,000 (£7,500), the kind where these situations have repeatedly cropped up.
Greek player Alexandros Jakupovic, who had a career high ranking of 464, suggested that Golding could lose the first set and then go on to win the match. In the event he won it 6-3, 6-2.
Goulding snubbed the offer by Greek player Alexandros Jakupovic at an obscure event
Golding was summoned to a hearing when Jakupovic’s activities were exposed — he was later found guilty of five offences and banned for life — but Golding does not feel he was given sufficient back-up from the TIU.
‘I’ve never been questioned by lawyers in my life,’ he said. ‘I almost felt a little bit guilty for reporting him. There is a problem in tennis and it does need to be stamped out, so I’m sure I did the right thing but it is a tough process to go through.
‘If it happened again it would be in the back of my mind, “God, I’ve got to go through this again” which I don’t think anybody really wants to do.’
But the TIU denied that their assistance to the British whistle blower was lacking.
A spokesperson said: ‘The TIU values the support of players in giving evidence at disciplinary hearings. Looking back at the case in question, the unit believes that every effort was made to keep in contact with the witness, provide him with ongoing support and to recognize his contribution in helping to achieve a lifetime ban for a corrupt player.’
The Unit has expanded in the last four years as tennis attempts to keep up with the explosion of online betting on tennis that has made what the lower tiers of the circuit, spread all over the globe, vulnerable to corruption.
The 23-year-old has recently made his return to tennis after retiring three years ago
The problem has been shown to lie mostly at that level, and its whole structure is expected to be addressed by the multi-million pound inquiry into match-fixing ordered last year under London QC Adam Lewis, which is due to publish its findings at the end of the season.
A rare exception of problems being flagged up at the higher level of the game came in August when the TIU said it was looking into an ATP Tour match involving world number 41 Alex Dolgopolov. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The latest figures for the busy July to September period showed that there were 65 basic ‘betting alerts’, which means a report from any bookmaker about a suspect betting pattern, which does not mean that an offence has been committed.
Of those all but five came at the lower end of the circuit, with none at Wimbledon. There were 35,349 ‘professional’ matches played – a very loose and inexact term – meaning that an alert was flagged on 0.183% of them.