Match-fixing allegations cloud start of Australian Open - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Copy-Match-fixing allegations cloud start of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (Sky News/CNN) - The Australian Open is underway Melbourne, but the tennis season is opening under a cloud of scandal.

The four governing bodies of tennis are strongly denouncing explosive new reports that claim there's widespread match-fixing and that it's being ignored.

BBC and Buzzfeed news say they acquired secret files implicating 16 players ranked in the world's top 50 over the last decade, including Grand Slam winners.

"Absolutely reject any suggestions that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn't being thoroughly investigated," ATP Executive Chairman Chris Kermode said. "The BBC and Buzzfeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago. We will investigate any new information and we always do."

While the report fails to name any of the players allegedly involved, it does implicate tournaments of high esteem, including Grand Slam events and Wimbledon - the sport's most lucrative tournament.

Of the 16 players alleged to be involved, at least half are said to be competing in the Australian Open, which started play Monday.

"We have seen in the past players that have been banned for life for suspicious situations and match fixing," Craig Gabriel, a tennis expert, said. "But relatively, tennis is an incredibly clean sport. We'll see what further develops from this."

ATP officials say their integrity unit has dealt with all allegations appropriately, but an Australian senator believes the reports deserves more than a simply inquiry.

These allegations are incredibly serious, and these allegations demand answers from Australian gambling regulators and also from Tennis Australia," Sen. Nick Xenophon said. "The allegations are that there may be at least on player in the tournament who has been referred to in secret files that have now been leaked in respect of this."

Meanwhile, the world's best tennis players seek the year's first Grand Slam amid allegations of scandal in what organizers are saying will be a clean and fair competition.

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