Many of tennis’ top players admit to match fixing for Russian and Italian syndicates, investigation alleges

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – It may take more than a military guard to protect the reputation of Wimbledon and the rest of the professional tennis world.

A BuzzFeed news/ BBC investigation uncovered what may be wide-spread match fixing by many top-ranked tennis players and organized crime syndicates in Russia and Italy.

The story of secret files and shady deals broke at the Australian Open, the start of grand-slam season.

And it had tennis officials scrambling to do damage control.

The story says widespread match fixing goes back at least 10 years, and involves 16 players ranked in the top 50 who admitted to the governing body’s Tennis Integrity Unit that they have thrown matches.

The report also says at least half of those pros are playing in this year’s Australian Open.

The report does not name the players involved, but it implicates some of the world’s top tournaments, including grand slams and Wimbledon.

Now, as fans turn out to watch some of the top players in the world start the new season, they, along with tournament organizers and sponsors will have to figure out if the game has double faulted into a money machine for tennis racketeers.