Tennis is the latest sport to blow up with corruption allegations, and unsurprisingly the storyline is very similar to that of the IAAF and FIFA. Whistleblowers and newspapers report on the issue, passing some highly convincing evidence on to the appropriate sporting authorities who then proceed to do nothing. It doesn't shock me that tennis has an issue with corruption, as I'm sure most sports have corruption issues to some extent , but what does surprise me is an international multi-million pound betting company performing some highly indepth statistical analysis getting laughed off the court by those responsible with tackling these issues. A strong parallel can be drawn to the Stepanovs who risked their lives in exposing the state-sponsored doping in Russia to be totally ignored by the IAAF. Seb Coe still doesn't acknowledge their heroic decision, and refuses to help them despite being exiled from their country.
It's also interesting to see players such as Djokovic dismissing the match-fixing reports as 'just speculation'. Funny how ill-informed professional sports people can be about the issues affecting their sport and livelihood. The statistical analysis performed by Betfair and BuzzFeed aren't just a bunch of armchair experts breaking out their calculator, it holds a solid grounding and shouldn't be cast aside. If you want to read the complete report have a look here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/the-tennis-racket#.aoLpV12z1k and the methodlogy: https://github.com/BuzzFeedNews/2016-01-tennis-betting-analysis It's great to see data analytics being used like this. It's something I had discussed at length in my previous job. It's absolutely a field that is under explored in sport and has much potential for supporting evidence gained through other means.
One thing I'd like to see applied in other sports is the Tennis Integrity Unit's ability to request an athlete's telephone and bank records. How useful would that be in anti-doping cases? Being able to piece together a network of who is involved with who, when and how. If it was a clause in every competition licence provided by a governing body then it wouldn't take too long to pull together a network of corrupt and disingenuous individuals and teams. That is only if the governing body actually wants to mount a serious attempt against corruption and doping. As Heidi Blake and John Templon pointed out - "Tennis hasn't got a problem because it doesn't want to have a problem."
Betting patterns alone aren’t proof of fixing. Players can underperform for all sorts of reasons — injury, fatigue, bad luck — and sometimes that underperformance will just happen to coincide with heavy betting against them. But it’s extremely unlikely for a player to underperform repeatedly in matches on which people just happen to be betting massive sums against him. In fact, according to my simulations, this player would have been expected to lose this many of the matches (or more) less than 1 in 7,500 times, based on bookmakers’ initial odds.