The ITF and newly anointed President David Haggerty have just announced a sponsorship deal for both Davis and Federation Cups with Betway, one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies. While Haggerty acknowledges the potential conflict of interest, he assures us that that this partnership will maintain the cleanliness of the sport. Now maybe it's opposite day, but I am puzzled how a partnership with a betting company safeguards the sport of tennis against corruption. It all seems a bit hypocritical to me.
Seven years ago, the ITF funded the formation of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), making the sport the first to establish its own dedicated anti-corruption unit. Since then, a number of players, coaches and officials have received lifetime bans for betting on matches, fixing matches and colluding with gambling cartels.
Now that a gambling cartel is funding the ITF, should we all breathe a sigh of relief that a sport which polices itself is safe from corruption?
If all goes well with this partnership, maybe tennis can hire Pete Rose to lead up its integrity unit?
Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.