AITA to probe Bhupathi’s match-fixing disclosure

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The All India Tennis Federation (AITA) Tuesday launched an inquiry into the sensational Davis Cup match-fixing disclosure by Mahesh Bhupathi, made a day earlier in Melbourne.

Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) president Anil Khanna said here that a joint committee of International Tennis Federation (ITF), ATP, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the Grand Slam Committee would inquire the truth behind Bhupathi’s allegation that someone had approached him to tank his Davis Cup match against Holland in Jaipur in 1996.

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“The AITA has taken a serious note of Bhupathi’s revelation and the AITA is very clear that Davis Cup is absolutely clean and no such incident has ever been heard of before or in the recent past in India,” Khanna said a statement here.

“AITA president Yashwant Sinha has, therefore, suggested that a probe be conducted.”

The inquiry committee will speak to the players, captains and coaches who have been part of the Davis Cup campaigns since 1996 to understand if any such incident other than the one Bhupathi has mentioned had come to their notice.

Khanna, while saying that the inquiry is being conducted to “protect the integrity of the sport”, pointed out that an internet betting web site had approached the ITF to sponsor tennis events.

“The ITF has been approached by a legal betting company on the internet to sponsor events like Davis Cup. The board of directors of ITF at its Madrid meeting in November rejected the proposal as tennis does not want to be seen associated with such activity,” he said.

“It is, however, true that the same company which has approached the ITF is sponsoring very well known European Football clubs.”

Khanna said the AITA inquiry report would be submitted to the ITF.

“It is necessary for India as a nation to protect its image and integrity amongst the tennis playing nations of the world,” he said.

Talk of matches being tanked in tennis has been doing the rounds lately and a few players have also been questioned by the ITF for unusually high betting on certain matches.

While the talk has revolved around foreign players, it is the first time that an Indian has disclosed that he was approached to tank his match.