Sport

Tennis ACT driving home importance of integrity of ACT Claycourt International

If you want to know something, ask a cabbie, but volunteer drivers have been warned to keep any information they pick up from players confidential to uphold the integrity of this week's ACT Claycourt International.

The Tennis Integrity Unit is in the spotlight over claims it ignored evidence of potential match-fixing allegedly involving 37 players, with an Italian prosecutor in Cremona having compiled a file of evidence.

Tennis integrity: Ross Triffitt keeps a close eye out for "courtsiders".
Tennis integrity: Ross Triffitt keeps a close eye out for "courtsiders".  Photo: Rohan Thomson

Tennis' reputation has taken a hit following a BBC-BuzzFeed report alleging widespread corruption in the sport.

But Tennis ACT chief executive Ross Triffitt said they had protocols in place for the two International Tennis Federation claycourt tournaments running back-to-back at the Canberra Tennis Centre this week and next.

As Fairfax Media revealed in January, two people were approached for using a phone and an iPad during two tournaments this summer - although neither turned out to be suspicious.

One man was texting a friend during the $50,000 Canberra International in November, while the other was doing work on his iPad during the Canberra $75,000 ATP Challenger in January.

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There have been no similar incidents during the ACT Claycourt and Triffitt said they would continue to monitor any suspicious use of electronic equipment to ensure there's no "courtsiders" operating during the two $25,000 events.

Courtsiders are spectators who provide illegal bookmakers with information about matches to take advantage of any delay in live-streaming, scoring or broadcasts.

Triffitt also said there was an ITF official at the tournament checking for any suspicious behaviour from the players - something the umpires were also keeping an eye on.

He said there was plenty of signage telling spectators what they weren't allowed to do.

"It's really when someone's spending a significant amount of time or it may be behaviour where immediately following a point they're on their device," Triffitt said.

"You can kind of see the behaviour suggests they're transmitting information about the match rather than talking to their mate or whatever, but it's really only when it's been determined that it's suspicious."

Triffitt said staff and volunteers had also been spoken to about passing on any information they pick up.

Driving players to and from the hotels and the tennis courts, they can pick up information about injuries players might be carrying. It's information bookies can use to get an edge on punters.

"Our staff are briefed about not providing information to anyone about any of the players. A driver may be driving players and be aware that one of them has an injury and is still playing," Triffitt said.

"That kind of information can provide an insight into the outcome of a match and they're clearly advised they're not allowed to discuss anything about the players.

"If we have any sniff of anything we report it directly to our contact at the TIU [at Tennis Australia]."

Meanwhile, the wet weather has delayed the doubles semi-finals until Saturday, which means the doubles and singles deciders will now both be held on Sunday.

Qualifying for the second ACT Claycourt International begins on Saturday.