Brisbane teenager and reigning Australian Open boys champion Oliver Anderson has been charged with match fixing at a tennis tournament in eastern Victoria, as police continue to target alleged corruption in sport.
The tournament was held at Traralgon in October and the 18-year-old has been charged with conduct that corrupts a betting outcome, Fairfax Media reported.
Detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) took part in the investigation and police said bookmakers also assisted.
It is still unclear how Anderson is alleged to have fixed the match, which occurred at the low-tier tournament.
He is expected to appear in Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court on March 2.
The charges come after former professional tennis player Nick Lindahl avoided a jail term for fixing a match and attempting to conceal the evidence earlier this year.
Lindahl, 27, faced a maximum two-year prison sentence, but was given a 12-month good behaviour bond and a $1000 fine.
Lindahl was the favourite to win a match at the Toowoomba Futures in 2013, but approached his opponent, Andrew Corbitt, offering to throw the fixture in exchange for $500.
His highest singles ranking was 187 in May 2010.
Nadal laments charge
Rafael Nadal says the worst thing about Australian Open boys champion Oliver Anderson being charged with match-fixing is his age – 18.
Nadal was surprised and disappointed to hear of the charge.
Nadal, who won through to the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International on Thursday night, said he’d never seen evidence of professional players fixing matches.
”You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is (to) fight against these kind of things,” the 14-time grand slam champion said.
“And he is young. That’s even the worst part.”
Nadal said the fact Anderson had been arrested showed the sport was doing it’s best to combat match-fixing but bemoaned the timing yet again.
“(It) is obviously negative, always in the first month of the season (it) starts to happen,” he said.
Tennis Australia’s integrity push
Last year, a joint BBC-Buzzfeed report alleged widespread corruption in the sport, while ABC’s Four Corners revealed that more than 40 professional tennis matches were flagged for potential match fixing by international bookmakers in just three months.
The revelations led to Tennis Australia bulking up its efforts to tackle match fixing in the sport.
For the first time, the sport’s governing body will have two investigative officers on site to monitor suspicious betting at this year’s tournament, as well as conducting education classes to target younger players.
Tennis Australia will also scrap controversial courtside advertisements for betting agency William Hill from this year’s event.
“We need to put it in perspective. The arrangements that were struck with William Hill before this issue had such a high profile and so we’ve worked with our partners to address that,” Tennis Australia president Steve Healy said last month.
In the wake of last year’s scandals, an independent review panel was set up by governing bodies of tennis.
The panel is expected to hand down its interim findings into corruption in the sport in March, with the full report tabled later in the year.
But match fixing is mainly a problem at minor tournaments, which are harder to police, and among lower-ranked players.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said the Victoria Police’s SIIU continued to target match fixers and corruption in betting.
“Match fixing is one of the fastest growing organised crime types across the world at the present time.”