Tennis Australia has introduced a host of new security measures, ahead of the Australian Open in January, in order to stamp out corruption during the event.
The body has increased the size of the prize pool and hired more anti-corruption investigators in order to discourage possible incidents. All of this despite the tennis association stating that there is “no evidence of widespread corruption”.
In January 2016, a joint investigation by BBC and BuzzFeed News brought to light cases of illegal betting at the Australian Open, with at least 16 players suspected of involvement. The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), worldwide anti-corruption body for professional tennis, denied the allegations put forth in the story, though it did later announce a major investigation into the matter.
Tennis Australia has now begun putting into place a number of restrictions to preemptively combat any illegal activities, saying they’re cautionary measures to protect the spirit of fairness in the upcoming tennis season over the summer. Its own National Integrity Unit has also been bolstered by the hiring of a new intelligence officer as well as a risk manager.
Prize money is also being bumped up at lower levels of the tournament, including qualifying and early rounds of the Australian Open, as incentive for those most likely to be pushed to engage in corruption. In addition, players and staff are also being instructed regarding the new circumstances, while security has been beefed up during tournaments as well. The body has also extended the ban on access to gambling websites from Tennis Australia tournaments.