Sports | August 31, 2021 6:00 am

How Will the US Open Address a Year of Irregular Grand Slam Betting?

And is there a way to prepare for potential match-fixing?

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2018.
Carine06 from UK, CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s been a strange year for tennis for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the number of big-name players who have missed high-profile tournaments for various reasons. But there’s also the makings of a scandal brewing across multiple Grand Slam events. In June, Yana Sizikova was arrested over a match-fixing investigation related to the French Open. And CBS News reported that authorities are looking into a number of suspicious bets placed on Wimbledon.

What does that mean for the U.S. Open? A new investigative report by Ibrahim Naber at The City explores what steps the tournament is taking to secure its integrity. The article quotes Adrian Bassett, a spokesperson for the International Tennis Integrity Agency, as describing the risk of match-fixing at the U.S. Open as “low — but still present.” The I.T.I.A. will be working with the gambling industry to monitor any suspicious activity surrounding the tournament.

The City’s article also cites “a member of European law enforcement involved in tennis corruption probes” who said that the F.B.I. is keeping an eye on the Open. (When asked, the agency had no comment.)

As the Wimbledon and French Open scandals show, match-fixing remains an issue at the sport’s highest levels. Based on that — and based on evidence quoted in the article about match-fixing in other tournaments in the United States last year — it’s enough to raise an alarm.Will that be enough to discourage any potential illicit activity? We’ll know soon enough.