Yesterday, I commented on how the sport of professional tennis had somehow become full of illicit activity and sabotage. Well, today's a new day, full of promise and more stories about possible cheating in tennis.
Czech tennis player Jan Hernych says he was approached in Russia last year and asked to lose first-round matches at ATP tournaments in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"Someone called me from the (hotel's) reception to my room, asking whether I wanted to sell a match, if I wanted to lose," Hernych was quoted as saying in Friday's editions of the Czech Republic's biggest daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes.
"I rejected. I think that anyone who would accept it is absolutely mad," said Hernych, currently ranked 165th.
The matches allegedly involved were against Italy's Filippo Volandri at the Kremlin Cup, which Hernych won 6-1, 6-4, and against Russia's Evgeny Korolev at the St. Petersburg Open, which the Czech player won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (7).
The fact that the people involved were trying to bribe the 165th ranked player is probably a good indication of how little influence they have, or are capable of buying, but it does make you wonder if they were able to get another player to throw their matches. And why did they want those specific matches thrown? Were Hernych's opponents from those matches already on someone's payroll, and were the individuals offering the bribe trying to help those players advance as far as possible in the tournaments in order to cash in on an even bigger payday? And eventhough Hernych wasn't offered a specific amount of money, that doesn't mean that other players haven't been.
Belgian player Gilles Elseneer said he was offered - and turned down - more than $100,000 to lose a first-round match against Potito Starace of Italy at Wimbledon in 2005.
Wow, more than $100,000? That's a pretty good chunk of change to bribe anyone with. Pretty soon people are just going to start dropping wads of cash on the baseline with a note attached.