Another Betting Scandal – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Another Betting Scandal

The fall is traditionally the quiet time of the tennis year, but controversy never sleeps. IMG owner Ted Forstmann has admitted to betting on sporting events involving IMG clients. The news made a splash on the tennis radar when allegations were that he lost $40,000 betting in favor of Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal in the 2007 Roland Garros final. Reports alleged that he made the bet after receiving inside information from man from Switzerland. No doubt Forstmann made a mistake on this one. Irrespective of the fact that the amount of the bet was a drop in the bucket when compared to his annual income, there’s a definite conflict of interest when it comes to betting on your own clients. The story also seemed a bit far-fetched given that Roger Federer has generally been the epitome of good sportsmanship and fairness, so it was always assumed unlikely that Federer would risk the humiliation and ban he would be slapped with if he had aided in the betting. Perhaps the only good thing to come out of this is that none seem to even be considering the possibility that Federer could be guilty in any of it.

Roger Federer

Injury Update

Not that it’s a shocker after all the reports last week, but Serena Williams has officially called it a season, citing that she re-tore the tendon in her foot. Things are much grimmer for her fellow competitor Aggie Radwanska, however. The young Pole’s worst fears were realized when it transpired that the stress fracture in her foot has required surgery. She will need at least three months to recover before she can return to competition, which means she’ll be missing the first major of the year. Despite the setback, still look for Radwanska to collect some big upsets in 2011, as her unorthodox game will continue to give the big hitters fits, even if she is going to be starting the season behind the eight ball.

History Saved

In case you’ve missed it, it wasn’t all that long ago that the West Side Tennis Club stadium at Forest Hills, home to the US Open from 1915-1977, was headed towards being turned into a bunch of condos. The vote on what to do with the club ended in a draw, 123-123, but those wanting to keep the club stadium intact won out, as it would have taken a two-thirds majority to seal the condo deal. The question in the coming weeks will be if this is just a temporary reprieve or if the club has truly dodged a bullet. With neither the USTA nor the International Tennis Hall of Fame in a position to offer much financial assistance, it could be the former. Hopefully it will achieve historical landmark status or their fortunes will turn around by some other means, as it would be a shame to see this historical venue fall victim to financial woes.

Fearless Leader

On Wednesday it was announced that Patrick Rafter would be stepping up as the captain of the Australian Davis Cup team. The Aussie will have some big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of the legendary Harry Hopman, Neale Fraser, John Newcombe, and John Fitzgerald. Rafter has long been considered one of the nice guys on tour, and having won back-to-back US Open titles, he knows what it takes to get to the top. His experience and attitude should only pay dividends, and when coupling that with Tony Roche on as coach and Rafter’s good relationship with Lleyton Hewitt nearly sure to cement the younger Aussie’s commitment to the team competition, things look positive for the Australian team. Hopefully the results will come, as Rafter never had the pleasure of winning the Davis Cup as a player, and it would go a long way towards filling that void if he were to do it as a captain.

Back on Track?

Last week proved the perfect storm for Ana Ivanovic, and it may have just given her the boost she needs as she starts to look ahead to 2011. The young Serb, whose fall in the rankings has been well publicized, had no intention of playing in Linz but made the last minute decision to take a wildcard when Serena Williams unexpectedly withdrew. The result? She worked her way to the final. The fact that she hadn’t won a title in two years must have been the furthest thing from her mind as she thrashed the Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, dropping just three games to claim victory. It’s too early to tell if this was just a good week, or if this is the beginning of a comeback that will see Ivanovic work her way back into the Top Ten next season. Many hope it’s the latter, and there’s little doubt that the WTA Tour could use another big name back at the top.