Corrupt tennis gambling whistleblower speaks out: “Players are throwing matches & gambling on tennis”
It’s a problem that won’t go away and now the most high profile player to have been caught up in the scandal speaks out about his treatment and concerns for the game
Argentinian tennis journeyman Marco Trungelliti hit the headlines earlier this year when he became the first active player on the ATP Tour to go public about a part of the game that few fans or Grand Slam champions will have come across.
Trungelliti approached the ‘Tennis Integrity Unit’ (TIU) which was set up to investigate and deal with a growing problem of corrupt gambling practises within the sport. The Argentine revealed a number of occasions during 2015 where he was approached about a seemingly innocuous sponsorship opportunity which then turned out to be a tennis match fixing opportunity with the chance to earn himself thousands of dollars.
He refused the approach and subsequently appeared as a witness in the trial and conviction of three other players, former world number 78 Nicolas Kicker, ex-world number 269 Patricio Heras and Federico Coria, whose career-high ranking is 223. Last June, Kicker was banned for six years, with three of those suspended, while Heras was banned for five years, with two suspended. Coria was banned for eight months, with six months suspended.
Now Trungelliti has taken to social media to voice his concerns about the way he was treated by the TIU and the lack of support he has received. His Instagram post from yesterday can be seen in full here:
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“It took the TIU (Tennis Integrity Unit) longer than they should have to announce. It seems that the pressure built to a point that they couldn’t ignore it. It was not a good situation and set a bad example for players who wanted to report anything. It was truly sad to see that a controversial ball mark posted on Twitter got way more attention than the serious problem we have in tennis. Players and coaches are throwing matches and gambling on tennis, and I tried to do my part to stop it. As players we know the difference when another player is tanking because of an off day or because they are a part of something much worse. This kind of tanking will ruin the sport and is awful for young kids to see. The worst part about this is I was not as supported as I thought I would be, getting called a snitch by multiple people. I was receiving hate from people in Argentina, Latin America and other regions. It picked up steam when a member of the ATP player’s council announced on Twitter that I was putting blame on others to protect myself. How does the ATP allow this to take place without any consequences. When I go back to Argentina it is still not a great situation for me. Families of people who got banned are blaming me, but in reality it is not my fault but theirs. It is sadly the mentality of Argentina, gambling is just a part of the culture. I was receiving messages that this was a career suicide decision. It may have been but I would kill my career several hundred times, before willingly being a part of a corrupt system. It seems as if the top players are playing in a different league, where corruption and financial problems rarely touch them. I feel separated from them and I know other players are with me. Even at the better challengers, and even 250’s, we are not treated how we should be. I am not sure if the people at the top understand this. Corruption exists here for this reason and it all needs to change.”
Trungelliti’s main grievance seems to be that his poor treatment won’t encourage others to follow his path and report these instances when they occur. The perceived lack of support he’s received combined with the tough treatment in his own country have been deeply concerning for someone that feels he’s been honest and done the right thing. His concern is that this will all get brushed under the carpet and allowed to continue. We hope he’s wrong for the sake of tennis.
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