Posts filed under ‘Tennis’

Problems Ahead – Want to Bet on It?

It cannot have come as a surprise to most sports fans to hear that the Big Bash League has come under scrutiny due to the amount of betting activity taking place on this format of the game of cricket. This news broke on the same day that a man was arrested at the Australian Open tennis and charged with “one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome.”

According to figures published in the Courier Mail newspaper betting giant Betfair has had $575million worth of best on 22 Big Bash League games. Apparently betting companies globally have taken $30million in best on this year’s T20 competition.

The concern centres around those betting in “Live markets,” from seats inside the grounds where they get a several second edge over those betting at home, due to the delay in the pictures being transmitted. Live betting odds fluctuate rapidly with the fall of a wicket, or a bowler being tonked in one over. So those at the ground have an advantage over the armchair punters.

Cricket Australia has claimed that anti-corruption measures have been put in place but the number of bets placed this year is up by 50% on last year, and questions are being asked if these measures have kept pace with the betting.

Betting companies have become synonymous with sport in recent years, you cannot watch a game without having the odds rammed down your throat pre-match or even during the broadcast by commentators, by visuals running across the screen or during the advertising breaks. No doubt these companies pay the top dollar and the TV stations need that revenue to be able to pay off the cost of the rights to broadcast each sporting event, but one thing is clear the betting companies are well ahead in terms of their returns.

The signs were there a long time ago as to whether players were being asked to influence betting results, and with figures such as these it is only likely to get worse. The saddest thing to come out of the rise of betting in sport is when you hear Children telling you the odds on certain facets of a game yet being unable to name all of the players taking part.

Time will tell how long sport can afford to allow so many variations of bet to be placed, mobile phone technology would appear to be ahead of the game and it would be sad to see sport suffer because of one of its sponsors.


January 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

“Selfie” Off The Menu

A great deal seems to be being made of the fact that tennis star Maria Sharapova refused to allow a waiter in a Melbourne Cafe to take a “selfie” with her as she relaxed.

Many have said this shows how determined she is to performa well at the Australian Open after a four month lay off for a shoulder injury, but maybe it was simply that she felt it was inappropriate.

Although not quite the same situation it was the late actor Paul Newman who made the decision never to sign another autograph after he was asked while standing at the urinal in a restaurant.

Surely athletes are fair game for an autograph in and around the sporting venue where they ply their trade, but they too should be respected enough to be allowed to relax and enjoy a coffee without being expected to sign autographs or pose for photos.

It may have only been a waiter, but imagine if she had to suffer the same request whenever she went to a bank, a post office, a newsagent? It would become a little annoying. The question is who defines the boundaries? The athlete themselves are probably the best judges of that.

January 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

No Sir!

It would appear that despite many people going into bat for him Andy Murray’s supporters were sent back to the club rooms almost as quickly as England’s top order in the Ashes.

Despite a strong recommendation from the Sport Honours Committee headed by Lord Coe that Andy Murray be awarded a knighthood on the back of becoming several key tennis achievements. Murray became the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, when he beat Novak Djokovic to win the US Open. That victory also made him the only British male to become a Grand Slam singles champion during the Open Era. He also won the Olympic tennis gold medal in 2012 in London.

However it was in 2013 when on 7 July, he won the Wimbledon Championships, to become the first British man to do so since Fred Perry, 77 years previously. He again beat Djokovic in the final.

The final decision lies with the powers that be in Whitehall and the response from them was that it was “too soon.”

This has left many tennis fans angered and baffled as the same body was quick to bestow a knighthood on Tour de France winner and Olympic cycling Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins. Then again the 2013 winner of the Tour de France Kenyan born Chris Froome was also overlooked.

The one relief is that these decisions have tended to kill the murmurs of David Beckham receiving a tap on the shoulder, he too may have to wait a little while longer.



January 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Nadal Plays His Cards

Rafael Nadal showed he may have a career at the card table when he retires from international tennis after winning a charity poker tournament in Prague on yesterday.

The 100 000-euro ($137 000) charity tournament was the first-ever live poker event for the Spaniard, who this year stripped Serbia’s Novak Djokovic of the world’s top spot in tennis.

Nadal continued that habit of dethroning world No 1 players when he saw off Daniel Negreanu the world number one poker player. Apart from beating Negreanu, Nadal beat Italian downhill skiing star Alberto Tomba, past football legends Ronaldo and Andriy Shevchenko, and also in the final Dutch field hockey champion Fatima Moreira de Melo.

Nadal became a fervent poker player following the knee injury that sidelined him from Tennis last year, but previous to this had only ever played in online poker tournaments.


December 13, 2013 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

A Dramatic Win

The US Open has been another tournament to forget for American men’s tennis, with their worst showing in over ten years. This was the 40th Grand Slam tournament since an American won a major title. Just last month in the 40 year history of the ATP Rankings for the first time no American men were ranked in the top ten. John Isner was teh highest ranked at thirteen.

It was lucky that they had the story behind the star to take their mind off such events, and we are talking about the 17 year old who defeated Sam Stosur, Victoria Duval. Her life story so far reads like a movie and will no doubt one day become one.

Born in Miami but living in Port au Prince, in Haiti, Duval’s family moved to the USA after Victoria had a pistol shoved in her face and was kidnapped by a gang. Her father, a gynaecologist, however decided to stay behind and carry on his medical practice, while her mother a former ballet dancer created a new life for her and her two brothers in Atlanta.

In the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed approximately 250,000 people, Victoria’s family home collapsed on top of her father leaving him with broken legs, shattered vertebrae, broken arms and a punctured lung. He was convinced he was going to die, but he managed to fine his mobile phone and told his wife and family he loved them. Against all odds he crawled eventually to safety.  He was airlifted to the USA and was nursed back to good health.

Victoria acknowledged that her father was lucky that a US mission of mercy helicopter  found her father after eleven hours under the rubble. At that point in time they were not allowing planes to land in Haiti.

Her father has been unable to resume his medical career as he continues to have treatment. No doubt seeing his daughter defeating former champion Sam Stosur will have been just the tonic he needed.

She may not have won her second round match against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchkova, but she reminded many that the pain of Haiti lives on with many, and her win meant just as much as if she had won the tournament.


September 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

Paired for Peace

One story that we must admit that slipped through the net was the pairing that won the women’s doubles at Wimbledon. We were well aware that Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua were the losers but had not realised the story behind the winners Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan and Peng Shuai from China.

So often sport can overcome boundaries that politicians cannot and their pairing is just one example of that.

Taiwan and China have been technically at war since Taiwan split from the mainland in 1949 at the end of the civil war. The island of Taiwan is still considered part of its sovereign territory by Beijing and insists that the two must eventually unite, even if that takes force.

Peng Shuai and Su-Wei who were born 4 days apart in January 1986 have been friends since their days playing as juniors and won the first of their six tour titles back in 2008. They were quoted post Wimbledon as saying that they do not see the divisions only what unites them, friendship and sport.

Su-Wei’s win was the first major victory by a player from Taiwan, but she felt it would have little impact back home, “tennis is not that popular in Taiwan,” she said.

One other bit of tennis trivia to come from their victory was the fact that both of the Wimbledon Women’s titles were won by players using a double-handed backhand.

July 16, 2013 at 8:07 am Leave a comment

No To Knight Andy

Following his historic Wimbledon win, Britain’s Andy Murray is now being tipped to become sport’s youngest knight.

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins was upgraded to Sir Bradley Wiggins following his historic Tour de France win, the first by a Briton and many say it will be a no-brainer for the Prime Minister to recommend a similar award for Murray and try to win favour with the people.

Sadly, the recognition of sporting achievements in Britain have of late been too linked to Politics and the polls rather than perspective. English sport had undoubtedly been in the doldrums for a very long time, but to give every player in the Rugby World Cup winning side an award was simply preposterous. Some of the players were just starting out on their careers and had done very little.

Such awards should be bestowed at the end of a career, when one can look at the work a player has done away from the court or the pitch to help others achieve the same highs, or worthy causes that benefit society as a whole.

To put Murray’s achievement in perspective Fred Perry who won three consecutive Wimbledon titles in the 1930’s was never bestowed such an honour. Neither was England’s World Cup winning football captain Bobby Moore.

Yet should, and the chances are it is very unlikely, England win the World cup in the very near future, in this current climate all of the players and the coach are likely to be honoured. It is not right.

They are suitably rewarded financially, and are doing their job. Awards such as this should be for services to their sport over an extended period of time where they have helped build on the success they may have achieved to ensure its long term success as a whole. The sport itself must always be more important than the individual.


July 10, 2013 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

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