Stan Wawrinka claims gambling firms can help tennis fight the fixers

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French Open champion Stan Wawrinka has countered Andy Murray's criticism of betting companies sponsoring grand slams by instead claiming their co-operation should prevent corruption.

Murray described it as "a little bit hypocritical" that gambling organisations regularly partner high-profile tournaments but are not allowed to represent players.

The British number one's comments followed an investigation carried out by the BBC and Buzzfeed that claimed 16 players were repeatedly flagged up to the sport's authorities over suspicion of match-fixing but no further action was taken.

A number of tennis events have been partnered by gambling companies in recent years, with William Hill a major sponsor of the Australian Open while the most high-profile tournament in Germany is known as the Bet-At-Home Open.

World number one Novak Djokovic, who has revealed he was offered a bribe to lose in 2006, and turned it down, said he felt betting companies' involvement was "borderline" but Wawrinka was more sympathetic.

"About gambling sponsoring tournaments, maybe you have to see the big picture," Wawrinka said. "I'm sure corruption and problems for a gambling website or gambling company, it's not good.

"Probably if they sponsor a sport, they are going to try everything to make sure there is no corruption.

"That can be maybe something good for tennis also. Maybe the gambling company can come to the tennis and make sure there is no corruption, because they lose a lot of money when there is a problem.

"For tennis, it's not good to have some corruption, but for the gambling company neither. So I think it can be only positive."

The BBC and Buzzfeed investigation claims 16 players under suspicion have ranked in the world's top 50 and more than half of those have been playing in the first round of the ongoing Australian Open, which started on Monday.

Speculation over the identity of the players, who were not named, has overshadowed early action at the first grand slam tournament of the year.

Former US Open champion Andy Roddick, who retired in 2012 after 12 years in the game, said he spoke to another former player who claimed he could identify at least half of those involved.

Roddick wrote on Twitter: "Text I got from another former tour pro 'we should see how many of the 16 betting guys we can name. I think I got at least 8-9.'"

The American added he was never offered a bribe to fix matches during his career. "Zero chance. Was never even approached," he wrote.

However Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Australian 19-year-old ranked 86th in the world, said he had received a number of offers to lose games.

"Not face to face, but on social read on your Facebook page... randoms from nowhere saying, 'I'll pay you this much to tank the game'," Kokkinakis told radio station 3AW.

Canada's world number 14 Milos Raonic appeared irritated by the controversy and joined Roger Federer in calling for players under suspicion to be brought to account.

"Tennis is a beautiful (sport)," Raonic said. "There are many great things about it.

"It's a little bit, sorry for the language, s***ty to read that and sort of see that the attention of the first grand slam of the year is more on that than I think the Australian Open, which is one of the four biggest events we play."

Raonic added: "I don't think anybody in tennis believes and stands for it. If the story has any validity to it, I hope the people who weren't named, from what I understand, may be weeded out."

Chris Kermode, president of the ATP which governs the men's professional tour, said the body was reviewing the Tennis Integrity Unit and its resources.

Kermode said he "absolutely rejects" the suggestion that match-fixing evidence had been suppressed and dismissed comparisons with other corruption cover-ups in football at FIFA and in athletics at the IAAF.

"It is ludicrous to suggest that there is a cover-up going on here. It's not like FIFA, which is a single entity," Kermode said.

"Tennis is a big family and the idea that there is some conspiracy between seven or eight different bodies is laughable."

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