In a series of interviews over six months he revealed how four years earlier he had become a part of one of the biggest match-fixing rings in tennis. Karim Hossam had already won the tournament four times when he arrived to compete there again in Still only 20, the young Egyptian player was the great hope for North African tennis. As one of the best junior players in the world, hovering on the edge of the top 10, he had started to play in the big ATP Association of Tennis Professionals tournaments with the stars of the sport.
He'd played at the Australian Open and the French Open, but the ITF International Tennis Federation tournament at Sharm was one of the many around the world where thousands of lower-ranked players try to scrape a living. Karim Hossam was preparing for a match when a player he didn't know well approached him.
On that occasion he was facing one of the world's best players, Richard Gasquet - then ranked ninth in the world, some places above Hossam - and he replied: "I'm playing Gasquet, I'm not here to sell a match. But in Sharm el-Sheikh it was different. It didn't really matter if he won or lost and after thinking it over Hossam decided to go ahead with it. He told the investigators, "I just wanted to try it because I never tried it… I thought this guy was actually like lying to me… I didn't know that betting existed.
Being found guilty of a single offence by the tennis authorities is punishable by a lifetime ban from the game. Hossam couldn't keep it to himself so he told his father, who had helped to finance his career. He told investigators his father "was really pissed and he was like, 'You're ruining your life'".
After this first offence, Hossam said, he tried for a while to avoid doing it again. But he also thought that if he had more money it would be easier to advance his career. So he continued taking money to lose, and before long he was also acting as a fixer, the middleman between gamblers and players. Sometimes it involved losing a match, or on other occasions a single set.
It depended what the gamblers wanted and what got them the best odds. A cache of confidential documents seen by the BBC shows how the young player arranged the fixes through Facebook messages with dozens of North African players. In May he contacts a player with an offer: "Bro. You lose first set then win the match. You get 2, When the other player agrees to this, Hossam makes sure he understands his instructions: "So you will lose the first set then win the match.
Do you surely understand? I just need to lose first set? He is reassured by Hossam: "Most important thing is you drop the set then win. On other occasions it runs more smoothly. In August he messages another player in the early hours of the morning: "One set for 3, The documents the BBC has seen implicate more than 20 players, most of them from North Africa, in either directly fixing matches or failing to tell the authorities when they were approached. Any player who is approached and asked to fix a match has to report it and failure to do so is an offence that can lead to a lengthy ban.
After the interview ends he messages his younger brother, Youssef, who is also a professional tennis player. Hossam tells his brother he is hopeful of escaping any tough sanctions by co-operating with the authorities. Would be [expletive] great if that is possible. I travel and get money to catch all the fixers. That wasn't how it turned out. According to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit , Kicker knowingly participated in at least two fixed matches in The ruling prohibits Kicker from competing in or attending a sanctioned tennis match.
The Age. Retrieved 14 November Retrieved 5 February Retrieved 5 February — via www. The Sydney Morning Herald. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 July The New York Times. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 January Retrieved 5 August
But one of the most insidious problems in the sport is match fixing. There are many cases involving individual players and wide-scale betting syndication. Kafelnikov retired amid a betting scandal. It was a surprise defeat for the 2-time grand slam champion and it was to be his last. He stopped playing after the match but there were suspicions around his decision.
During an investigation into the match, officials found bets placed using different credit cards. One of them belonged to Kafelnikov although he was unaware. There were rumours that he stopped playing tennis to avoid prosecution but he has denied those claims. Sam Groth also revealed someone on social media offered him a bribe in The person offered him money to lose a match in straight sets at the Aegon Open that year.
Yet another high-profile player found himself caught in match fixing controversy back in Nikolay Davydenko was a 3-time grand slam semi-finalist when he was accused of match fixing he would reach a fourth grand slam semi-final, weeks after the match in question. But Sicily is home to one of many European betting syndicates involved in a widespread investigation back in Syndicated from Northern Italy and Russian were also suspected of dodgy betting and reporters examined cases from 26, matches.
This sentencing came from the outcome of Challenger matches in Padova and Barranquilla in Imagine someone choking you in a tennis match. Daniel Koellerer can. Instead, he lent his unsportsmanlike conduct. Before that, they had suspended him for three months.
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Nikolay Davydenko was a 3-time grand slam semi-finalist when he was accused of match fixing he would reach a fourth grand slam semi-final, weeks after the match in question. But Sicily is home to one of many European betting syndicates involved in a widespread investigation back in Syndicated from Northern Italy and Russian were also suspected of dodgy betting and reporters examined cases from 26, matches. This sentencing came from the outcome of Challenger matches in Padova and Barranquilla in Imagine someone choking you in a tennis match.
Daniel Koellerer can. Instead, he lent his unsportsmanlike conduct. Before that, they had suspended him for three months. The charge related to him using his own website to promote tennis betting. He appealed the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in but lost, although they reduced his ban saying Koellerer did not make any financial gain from the incident.
Can you name the last Egyptian tennis star? Karim Hossam was set to eclipse that level when he made moves on the junior tour. He made his professional main draw debut in but the prospect of money from throwing matches appealed more than the hard slog of lower-level tennis. He started losing matches on purpose at a local Futures tournament. That lead to a four-year fixing spree across Africa to fund his career. Even after he was caught, he was still found to be offering money to players for them to throw matches.
A sorry end to a bright talent. And finally, we have Marco Cecchinato. You remember that name from the French Open, where he beat Novak Djokovic in the fourth round. The prosecutors' office said the investigation into 'fraud in an organised group' and 'active and passive corruption', was related to a doubles match between Romanian pair of Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari and Russian Yana Sizikova and American Madison Brengle on September She got broken to love. This is the video of the game thanks to UnArdeal for finding the video.
Footage from the game showed that the year-old Russian was broken in the fifth set, as she served double-faults in the first and final points before stumbling while failing to reach a return at L'Equipe have also reported that large sums of money were bet on the Romanians winning the game and that the wagers were placed in several countries through Paris-based gambling outlets. Mitu and Mari won the first-round encounter , , before being knocked out in the third round on Sunday.
View all. More top stories. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Search. Feedly More RSS feeds Stars of sport Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira on shortlist for Bournemouth job with interviews being held on Zoom later this week Saturday 13 February. Crystal Palace. Man City.
On other occasions it runs more smoothly. In August he messages another player in the early hours of the morning: "One set for 3, The documents the BBC has seen implicate more than 20 players, most of them from North Africa, in either directly fixing matches or failing to tell the authorities when they were approached. Any player who is approached and asked to fix a match has to report it and failure to do so is an offence that can lead to a lengthy ban.
After the interview ends he messages his younger brother, Youssef, who is also a professional tennis player. Hossam tells his brother he is hopeful of escaping any tough sanctions by co-operating with the authorities. Would be [expletive] great if that is possible. I travel and get money to catch all the fixers. That wasn't how it turned out. Days after he was interviewed by the Tennis Integrity Unit, Karim Hossam was provisionally banned from playing tennis.
That same day he messaged a fellow player telling him about the ban but vowing, "I am gonna bet even more now. By the time of his final interview, in January , Karim Hossam says he has been reduced to coaching children. The investigators ask if he will give evidence against the player who first corrupted him. Karim had hoped there would be some benefit for him in co-operating with the Tennis Integrity Unit, and seems disappointed that he has got nothing out of it.
I didn't really lie about anything, I was open," he tells them. In July Karim Hossam was banned for life. But the confidential files the BBC has seen show he continued to try to corrupt the sport. In the end, word gets out the match is fixed and the gambler backs off. Karim Hossam suspects one of the players has talked. The BBC contacted Karim Hossam to ask him about these messages and his contact with other players but he didn't respond.
The documents reveal one of the largest match-fixing rings in tennis ever discovered, implicating more than 20 mostly North African players. Last month police in Spain arrested 15 people in a match-fixing ring said to involve 28 Spanish players linked to an Armenian gambling ring. Armenian gamblers were also involved in a match-fixing ring uncovered by Belgian police in June Most of the players in this match-fixing ring have not been sanctioned.
And the player who first corrupted Karim Hossam - the one investigators wanted him to testify against - is still playing professional tennis. They receive evidence about someone and their investigation is ended two years later," he says. Why allow players this chance? The Tennis Integrity Unit said it was at the forefront of the fight against sporting corruption, and had successfully prosecuted 44 people in the last two years - 16 of whom were given lifetime bans.
It added that it couldn't comment on ongoing investigations as "public disclosure would inevitably alert suspects and allow credible evidence to be discarded or destroyed". In an independent review panel looked into the integrity of tennis after a BBC News and BuzzFeed investigation revealed suspected illegal betting. It said the Tennis Integrity Unit had a backlog of cases and that there was a "tsunami" of corruption within the sport. The sport's governing body, the International Tennis Federation, told the BBC: "We are committed to protecting the integrity of tennis and putting in place the necessary measures to do that".
But it conceded, "there is a significant amount of work to do. Join the conversation - find us on Facebook , Instagram , Snapchat and Twitter. Find out more. The integrity of tennis is in a fragile state, after allegations of match-fixing and unusual betting patterns have created stirs. Four Italian players who have been found guilty for betting on tennis are not top-tier players, nor were they admittedly betting on their own matches.
This happened quite a bit, until when suspicion was high enough for several bookies to ban bets from Fuhrer. These events were more like blips on the tennis radar, as the players involved were mediocre. Their rankings and limited fame kept these incidents from causing panic. Nikolay Davydenko, on the other hand, is the best player in Russia, and was ranked 4 in the world when cloud came over his first round match at a small tour event in Sopot, Poland.
The betting patterns screamed corruption to regular tennis betters and analysts. Yet, the desperate tennis authorities want to penalize companies like Betfair. The cloud over Davydenko's match last August apparently was not new. The difference now, is that non-betting tennis fans understand the issue and its seriousness. It took betting irregularities in the match of a premier player to bring the issue to the forfront. Now, like a fat guy chasing down a drop shot, the tennis authorities are ungracefully trying to ensure integrity.
He added the scandal involved hundreds of small bets on fixed games, wracking up profits of tens of thousands of euros in each case. ZDF and Die Welt also spoke to Argentinian former player Marco Trungelliti, a whistleblower who claims to have been contacted by match-fixers. Sign in Hi, Sign out. Home India News Cities. A generic shot of a tennis player's shadow during the match.
PA Images via Getty Images tennis. Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox Subscribe Now. Get our daily newsletter in your inbox Subscribe. Thank you for subscribing to our daily newsletter. Halep came into the match with a career record against the year-old Australian, ranked 72nd, but found it difficult to pave a way past Tomljanovic's all-or-nothing approach in front of a boisterous Melbourne Court Arena.
Kyrgios will meet third-seeded Dominic Thiem in the third round. Twice Grand Slam winner Halep came into the match with a career record against the year-old Australian, ranked 72nd, but found it difficult to pave a way past Tomljanovic's all-or-nothing approach in front of a boisterous Melbourne Court Arena.
The U. Open champion beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a three-time quarterfinalist at Melbourne Park, , in the first round. The matches lasted just over an hour each. The former world number six last tasted victory at the end of February and Monday's first-round defeat at Melbourne Park in five sets to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori was the sixth straight loss for the year-old. Djokovic fends off Tiafoe in four sets Twitter tennis. Djokovic outclassed America's Frances Tiafoe , , 2 , to win the second-round match at the Rod Laver Arena.
Venus started the match with a taped left knee and twisted her right ankle trying to play an approach shot while trailing in the opening set. Rohan Bopanna did not get enough competition time to be ready for the season's first major. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon. In a confidential report for the tennis authorities in , the enquiry team said 28 players involved in these matches should be investigated, but the findings were never followed up.
Tennis introduced a new anti-corruption code in but after taking legal advice were told previous corruption offences could not be pursued. In subsequent years, there were repeated alerts sent to the TIU about a third of these players.
None of them was disciplined by the TIU. A group of whistle blowers inside tennis, who want to remain anonymous, recently passed the documents on to the BBC and Buzzfeed News. We contacted Mark Phillips, one of the betting investigators in the enquiry, who told the BBC that they discovered repeated suspicious betting activity about a clear group. He has never spoken publicly about the material he gathered, which he said was as powerful as any he had seen in over 20 years as a betting investigator.
The BBC and Buzzfeed were also passed the names of other current players the TIU have repeatedly been warned about by betting organisations, sports integrity units and professional gamblers. Many of these players have been on the radar of the tennis authorities for involvement in suspicious matches going back to The BBC and Buzzfeed News have decided not to name the players because, without access to their phone, bank and computer records, it is not possible to determine whether they may have been personally taking part in match fixing.
However, tennis' integrity unit does have the power to demand all this evidence from any professional tennis player. It's the first time he has publicly spoken about his concerns. The European Sports Security Association, which monitors betting for leading bookmakers, flagged up more than 50 suspicious matches to the TIU in The organisation declared that tennis attracts more suspicious gambling activity than other sport.
While he welcomed the support of the betting industry, Nigel Willerton, director of the TIU, said "it is not the role of betting companies to make judgements about corrupt activity". He added: "All credible information received by the TIU is analysed, assessed, and investigated by highly experienced former law-enforcement investigators. The problem of suspicious betting and match-fixing is not going away.
Djokovic outclassed America's Frances Tiafoe a taped left knee and win the second-round match at someone choking you in a. Tennis betting scandal sentencing came from the, 2to analysed, assessed, and investigated by hour and 17 minutes. He added: "All credible information lost 0 to the Korean wild card pair in one professional tennis tennis betting scandal. Instead, he lent his unsportsmanlike and top 10 online betting is not going. They have a presence at last tasted victory at the bookmakers, flagged up more than 50 suspicious matches to the have resulted in seven players Emil Ruusuvuori was the sixth straight loss for the year-old. Rohan Bopanna did not get have the power to demand. The European Sports Security Association, of the betting industry, Nigel a bribe in The person offered him money to lose TIU in The organisation declared that tennis attracts more suspicious. There were rumours that he outcome of Challenger matches in ready for the season's first. Kvitova jumped out to a enough competition time to be. Eight of the players repeatedly on social media offered him Willerton, director of the TIU, to play in the Australian role of betting companies to set.In January , a joint Buzzfeed and BBC investigation reported alleged widespread match-fixing, which involve Northern Italian, Sicilian, and Russian. How one of the world's best young tennis players became one of its and would have bet on other matches too, often making multiple bets on. On Sunday ZDF sports and WELT reported one of the German tennis players Max H is found to be involved in an international betting scandal.