After accusations of match-fixing prior to the Australian Open, Sebastian Liggenstorfer interviewed two UEL tennis scholars to see if they’ve lost faith in the sport.
The integrity of a sport is one of the most important aspects of it. Tennis like the white outfits worn at Wimbledon has always been seen as clean and fair. But with sports coming under even more scrutiny after recent scandals in football, athletics, cricket and cycling game, tennis remained as a bright example of fairness.
Now this all could change, if the recent allegations about match fixing in tennis turn out to be true. The issue first came to light after an investigation by the BBC and Buzzfeed found evidence of suspected match fixing dating as far back as 2008. Around 16 unnamed players, who were all ranked in the top 50 were mentioned in a report which was sent to the Association of Tennis Players. Half of the 16 were reportedly competing in the 2016 Australian Open.
These allegations could go deeper than a couple of matches being fixed throughout various tournaments, however it made me wonder, could this damage the integrity of the sport at a non-professional level?
At UEL, tennis plays an invaluable role with fifteen scholars all registered to the program. The reports of match fixing and, if proven, the consequences it may bring could affect some of the university’s scholars. So I decided to go and meet a couple of the athletes and find out just what impact this breaking news story had on them.
I headed over to the UEL SportsDock to meet Tennis scholars Marie Prulhiere and Sebastian Kay and started my interview by asking them whether the match fixing scandal has tarnished their ambitions of pursuing a professional tennis career. Also I wanted to ask the scholar’s if they believed the allegations would damage the sport in the long run.
“I think that any kind of accusation towards tennis can be damaging. I think that the sport can move past it and the bad image will fade, since there has not been any proof”.
Everyone is aware that there is match fixing on all tours, but its hard to prove anything” said Marie Prulhiere.
Seb Kay explained, “Without hard evidence, it’s hard to believe”.
Marie Prulhiere thinks that there are players that have been paid for match fixing, but finds it hard to believe that any Grand Slam winners would be among them.
“I could imagine that some of the players ranked outside the top 30 could fix matches in order to make more money, but I would find it strange for players in the top 30 to do it. They have put so much effort into the sport and make good money”.
Although these allegations have already tarnished the reputation of the sport in some aspects, both UEL scholars still want to pursue careers as professional tennis players.
“It has been my ultimate goal since I started playing the sport, accusations and reports are not going to affect my mindset towards my goals” stated Seb Kay.
Marie Prulhiere is optimistic about the future of the sport and how it will be viewed five years from now. Prulhiere believes scholars will continue to work towards their goal of turning professional.
“The accusations, which have not been proven, will not stop them”.
Luckily for UEL tennis and hopefully tennis all over the world, these allegations haven’t really affected people looking to pursue a career in the sport. Sebastian and Marie are both firmly fixed on achieving their joint ambition of playing tennis professtionally despite the current rumors. I guess for them it’s an opportunity to make their own mark on the sport and restore its integrity for future generations.