Andy Murray speaks out on match fixing scandal at Australian Open
World No. 2 Andy Murray was quizzed on the recent match-fixing allegations after his first round match at the Australian Open yesterday, and described the tournament’s sponsorship deals as ‘hypocritical.’
Following a straight sets victory over German teen Alexander Zverev and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic admitting he had also been approached by bookmakers to fix matches, Murray described fixing as a “massive problem.”
He acknowledged that it was an issue in the tennis world, however. “You don’t want that to go on. But it does. No sports are clean of doping and none are clean of fixing. And it’s not just sport. That’s, like, life in general. People cheat,” he told assembled reporters.
English bookmakers William Hill are among the biggest sponsors of the Australian Open, which was focussed on heavily in the BBC/Buzzfeed investigations, and is a major concern in light of the fixing allegations.
Murray described this as a “little bit hypocritical,” going on to explain that while players were not allowed to be sponsored by these agencies, it was a matter of concern that tournaments were.
Indeed, the fact that a legalised betting agency is involved in a major sporting tournament should raise eyebrows; if anything, they would be likely to have a vested interest in the results of matches. This, combined with certain inside knowledge on injuries, team and coaching issues and even the smallest of factors that could precipitate change or affect results, means that it is unfair to sport that a betting agency sponsor a tournament – and a Grand Slam, at that.
The Scot, who was instrumental in Great Britain’s first Davis Cup win in 79 years last year, called for stringent action. “...when it does happen, you want people to be prosecuted, you want them to be banned and you want them to be found out. I, as a player, can’t ban people. It’s up to the authorities to do something about it. And you just want to make sure that they are.”
Due to meet Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals before the Spaniard’s shock ouster in the first round of the Open, Murray will now play Australian Sam Groth in the second round; Murray and older brother Jamie beat Groth and Lleyton Hewitt in Australia’s Davis Cup tie with Great Britain, and the Scot acknowledged Groth would not be an easy opponent.
With his wife Kim due to give birth to the couple’s first child imminently, Murray has said that he will withdraw from the tournament immediately should his wife go into labour during the course of the Open.