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texasdave
10-23-2009, 12:41 PM
Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, a tale of great sportsmanship has instead turned into an investigation of gambling, match-fixing and tennis integrity.

Caroline Wozniacki, a 19-year-old Dane ranked sixth in the world, retired from the first-round match at the Luxembourg Open with a hamstring injury on Wednesday while leading Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 7-5, 5-0.

Wozniacki's father, Piotr, told his daughter at 3-0 in the second set to retire before winning because her injury would prevent her from playing in the next round. His comments, apparently spoken in his native Polish, were picked up by microphones and heard by viewers watching the match on the Internet ...

... The father's comments during the match led to a surge in online bets for Kremer to win.

Wozniacki did a tremendous thing for Kremer by allowing her to advance to the second round in front of her hometown fans. As she explained:

I could possibly have finished the match, but felt there was no way I could get ready for the second round on Thursday, so I chose the sporting way and let her go through. She's also [playing] at home.

For her selfless actions, Wozniacki has earned an investigation from the Tennis Integrity Unit. Because there were a number of bets made after her father's comments were picked up by the microphones, the WTA became concerned that there was something nefarious about Wozniacki's retirement.

The British gambling exchange site Betfair, which allows clients to make mid-match wagers, says it did not have any concerns about the match.

First of all, if Wozniacki was going to fix the match, there are dozens of more effective and less obvious ways to do it rather than retiring up 5-0 in the second set. That'd be like if Tim Donaghy tripped opposing players in the NBA games he bet on.

This also seems like the WTA's way of covering itself for having live microphones in coaching huddles. From the way this story was reported, the bets in question didn't go through until after Piotr Wozniacki's comments were aired live on the Internet. Why not just cut those mics?

In all likelihood, Caroline Wozniacki will be cleared of any wrongdoing, but it's still disappointing that she's set to be investigated for integrity after a gesture which showed how much of it she really has.

Is it good sportsmanship to allow your opponent to move on if you think you are gonna be injured for the next round? If there was a chance of permanent injury I would say she did the right thing. If there was any chance at all she would be ready for the next round then she basically threw the match. What I don't understand is why did she play two more games if her father told her at 3-0 to retire before winning the match? Playing those next two games makes no sense if she has no intention of closing out the match. And how does she convince anyone she had no chance on Thursday, if when, supposedly injured, she wins the next two games? If they determine there was no chance of permanent injury I think she deserves whatever fines/suspensions she incurs.

15fan
10-23-2009, 12:51 PM
The Tennis Integrity Unit?

Hoosier Red
10-23-2009, 03:31 PM
Is it good sportsmanship to allow your opponent to move on if you think you are gonna be injured for the next round? If there was a chance of permanent injury I would say she did the right thing. If there was any chance at all she would be ready for the next round then she basically threw the match. What I don't understand is why did she play two more games if her father told her at 3-0 to retire before winning the match? Playing those next two games makes no sense if she has no intention of closing out the match. And how does she convince anyone she had no chance on Thursday, if when, supposedly injured, she wins the next two games? If they determine there was no chance of permanent injury I think she deserves whatever fines/suspensions she incurs.

I think it is good sportsmanship to do this, especially in the other participants home country. When I was younger I played in a tennis tournament and the other player was leaving on vacation the next day. He told me before the match that he was going to retire even if he won which was good of him, but threw me off my game(which wasn't much of a game to begin with.)

Chip R
10-23-2009, 03:52 PM
I wonder if the Tennis Integrity Unit investigates matches every time a superior opponent gets beat 6-0 in a set?

Roy Tucker
10-23-2009, 04:48 PM
If she was so hurt, why did she even start the match?

If she was too hurt to continue, then OK. That often happens.

But if she could continue, I think she owes it to the pro league and integrity of the sport to close out the match. If her opponent was getting clobbered by her, she didn't deserve to play on.

Dangerous precedent, slippery slope, and all that.

UKFlounder
10-23-2009, 05:13 PM
I agree. Quitting a match that you can physically still play just to let your opponent play the next round is not a good thing


If she was so hurt, why did she even start the match?

If she was too hurt to continue, then OK. That often happens.

But if she could continue, I think she owes it to the pro league and integrity of the sport to close out the match. If her opponent was getting clobbered by her, she didn't deserve to play on.

Dangerous precedent, slippery slope, and all that.

IslandRed
10-24-2009, 06:36 PM
What I don't understand is why did she play two more games if her father told her at 3-0 to retire before winning the match? Playing those next two games makes no sense if she has no intention of closing out the match. And how does she convince anyone she had no chance on Thursday, if when, supposedly injured, she wins the next two games?

Like you, I don't get the idea of playing on until 5-0 if she knew before that she'd have to withdraw because of the injury.

As for the second part, Wozniacki is the sixth-ranked player in the world and her opponent was a local favorite who is currently ranked 864th in the WTA rankings -- and is 34 years old, which is like 60 in Female Tennis Age. Wozniacki might have been able to stumble around and beat her anyway but she obviously knew she would be no match for a real opponent.

BoxingRed
10-25-2009, 12:21 AM
Jeez guys, Wozniacki was trying to do a nice thing for her opponent, perhaps a friend, in the 1st round of an obscure tournament. It's not like this was the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

I imagine there is more friendship and camaraderie among the tennis players than in most sports as they share the same locker rooms, travel to the same places and play as individuals not as a team. It would be horrible to try and complete a year of international tennis without making some friends on the tour.

Perhaps she played to 5-0 to prove to herself that she would win the match. Either way, I think that arguing over that obscures the purpose of what she did.

And if you are betting or taking bets on the 1st round of the Luxembourg Open, I think you are likely to be faced with bigger opportunities for a fix than this or should get a life.

Danny Serafini
10-25-2009, 01:48 AM
If she knew she couldn't make it through the next match anyway, what's so terrible about her allowing the fans to see an actual match the next round instead of a forfeit? There's no downside here.

BoxingRed
10-25-2009, 08:47 AM
If she knew she couldn't make it through the next match anyway, what's so terrible about her allowing the fans to see an actual match the next round instead of a forfeit? There's no downside here.

The woman she to whom she defaulted took the next opponent to 3 sets as well.

Roy Tucker
10-25-2009, 10:21 AM
Jeez guys, Wozniacki was trying to do a nice thing for her opponent, perhaps a friend, in the 1st round of an obscure tournament. It's not like this was the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

I imagine there is more friendship and camaraderie among the tennis players than in most sports as they share the same locker rooms, travel to the same places and play as individuals not as a team. It would be horrible to try and complete a year of international tennis without making some friends on the tour.

Perhaps she played to 5-0 to prove to herself that she would win the match. Either way, I think that arguing over that obscures the purpose of what she did.

And if you are betting or taking bets on the 1st round of the Luxembourg Open, I think you are likely to be faced with bigger opportunities for a fix than this or should get a life.

I cetainly understand this point and it has has validity. I just think its a slippery slope. What if it came out there was money involved and they split the winnings of going to the next round? What if there was insinuations of gamblers involved (yes, I know, she probably wouldn't thrown the match that way but who knows?)? What if it came out the tournament organizers were involved and coerced this? What if the favor gets returned in not-so-obvious kinds of circumstances?

Once you do something like this, your motivation can come under close scrutiny and suddenly an apparently nice gesture may get a little weird. Most likely, this just was a friend-friend thing but I imagine she will get sternly warned not to do it again and rules against it will get put in place. Pro leagues can't stand for players just decide "just because" who wins and loses. The legitimacy comes under the microscope and that can kill a sport.

I don't follow tennis much and don't give a hoot about the Luxemberg Open. I just think you owe it to the sport and the paying public to give it your all when you are on the playing field, no questions asked. That's what you signup for when you step on the playing field and agree to take a check for playing. Otherwise, just go play in a city league or something.