In The Secret World of Tennis Match Gambling, Tomas Rios details rampant match fixing in the professional ranks. Rios explains why corruption is so pervasive in professional tennis:
Tennis is perfectly
suited--in every way--for match fixing.
Tennis is the third-most bet upon sport in the world and, between the
ATP and the Women's Tennis Association, there are 126 tournaments
making up this year's tour. The sheer volume of betting and matches
makes spotting suspicious activity virtually impossible in all but the
most obvious and reckless cases.
Then there's the sport's inherent vulnerability to "spot fixing."
European sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on not just matches, but
sets, games, and even individual points. A corrupt player could easily
throw a handful of points over the course of a match and not even the
keenest observer would be able to spot it.
Of course, a player needs motivation to go corrupt. Tennis does a
fine job of making sure players have the best motivation of all.
The "motivation" is that it costs well over $100,000 to play on the ATP or WTA tours when one includes travel costs and the cost of a full-time coach. While the top-10 players make more than $1,000,000 per year and thus have much less incentive to cheat, most tennis professionals can make more money--and guaranteed money at that--by fixing matches than they can make by trying to win prizes honestly.
A 2014 study by Ryan Rodenberg and Elihu Feustel titled "Forensic
Detecting and Predicting Match-Fixing in Tennis" used betting market
analysis and predictive tennis models to determine that it was likely
that at least one percent of first round tennis matches over a span of
more than two years were fixed. That works out to an average of 23
matches per year--and that does not include the sets, games and points that may have been thrown in "spot fixing" scams.
Rios cites a specific match from 2007 pitting the fourth ranked player in the world versus a player who barely cracked the top 100. The wagering on that match reached a fever pitch--10 times the average--and the match ended with the fourth ranked player conceding the match after claiming that he was injured. The ATP investigated the situation for over a year but could not prove any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, within the tennis community it is widely believed that the match was fixed--and that type of corruption casts a pall on the entire sport.