Wawrinka says gambling sponsorships can help protect tennis

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:10am EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka believes betting companies can help tennis weed out corruption, playing down concerns over the propensity of gambling brands sponsoring major events.

His prospective semi-final opponent in Melbourne Andy Murray, however, accused tennis organisers of hypocrisy as the fall-out from Monday's allegations of match-fixing in the sport continued as a main talking point.

William Hill became the first "official wagering partner" of the Australian Open last year, and this year advertisements for the British bookmaker adorned the three main showcourts at Melbourne Park for the first time.

While the International Tennis Federations (ITF) last year rolled out Betway as a sponsor for its flagship Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, prompting critics to suggest the relationship sends out the wrong message.

Asked for his thoughts following his first-round win on Tuesday, Wawrinka said the "bigger picture" could actually be a benefit for tennis as it tries to stay clean.

"Probably if they sponsor a sport, they are going to try everything to make sure there is no corruption," the Swiss told reporters. "That can be something good for tennis also.

"Maybe the gambling companies can come to tennis and make sure there is no corruption, because they lose a lot of money when there is problem.

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

World number two Murray saw things differently.   Continued...

Men's Singles - Singapore Slammers' Stanislas Wawrinka in action during the match. International Premier Tennis League - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore - 19/12/15. Action Images via Reuters / Jeremy Lee Livepic