News of Aussie teenage tennis player Oliver Anderson’s charge for match-fixing has saddened many of the game’s top players.
Brisbane-born Anderson hit the headlines when he won the Australian Open boys title last year in a performance that saw him likened to Andre Agassi by retired Aussie Wayne Arthurs, who is his coach.
But Anderson was charged on Thursday by Victorian police for engaging in conduct that corrupted a betting outcome.
The 18-year-old is accused of fixing a match at a tournament in Traralgon last October, with bookmakers said to have helped detectives in their investigation into the event.
The likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal expressed disappointment over the news and World No.1 Andy Murray said if Anderson was guilty, the penalty should be significant.
“[If] people are caught and charged, I see that as being a positive thing,” Murray said.
“If it’s going on and nothing is happening about it, that’s much worse for the sport.
“If it’s happening, there should be the most severe punishments for whoever is involved in it.”
Murray said the many low-level tennis events on the professional circuit presented problems for the sport.
“Pretty much all matches are streamed online now – people can bet on any level of tennis,” he added.
“That’s obviously going to create problems, especially when the lowest level of the game prize money is … I don’t know the exact figures, but I’m imagining if you’re fixing a match you’re going to make significantly more than that.
“So when you have a tour that works the way that ours does, there is always potential for that to happen.”
Novak Djokovic ‘very disappointed’
Serbian star Novak Djokovic expressed his unhappiness at the charges following a win in Qatar.
The six-time Australian Open champion said it was even more disappointing because Anderson appeared to be one of the stars of the future.
“Very disappointed. Very disappointing to hear that, especially considering the fact that he’s young and won the junior grand slam,” he said.
“Obviously the quality is there [for Oliver] and the potential is there.
“I don’t understand why he has [allegedly] done it. Again, everybody has their own reasons.
“They behave the way they think is best for them at the certain moment.
“Everybody makes mistakes. I hope he’s going to learn from that.”
Rafael Nadal said he was “tired” about stories of players allegedly fixing matches.
“The most important thing is [to] fight against these kind of things,” he said.
“And he is young. That’s even the worst part.
“Always in the first month of the season [these stories] start to happen. I have been a lot of years on tour and [it] happen almost every year.
“I don’t see matches that people give up or throw the match, you know.
“Maybe the lower tournaments maybe is another story, but I don’t want to talk about it, because I really don’t know much.”
Anderson, who has not played since the Traralgon event in October, will not play in this summer’s Australian Open at the senior level.
He had hip surgery last year and did not play in the qualifying event.
Anderson was not eligible for the boys event in 2017, either.
He is expected to appear in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court on March 2.