Epic tennis battle boosts Betfair

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The Independent Online

The betting exchange Betfair took a massive £50m in bets on the epic see-saw tennis clash between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in January's Australian Open final, the firm said yesterday.

The match – eventually won by Djokovic over five gripping sets – saw the favourite change 55 times, according to the group's chief financial officer and interim chief executive, Stephen Morana. "We can't make sport like that, it just happens. It was just one of those amazing sporting moments," he said.

The interest helped the company to record an 11 per cent rise in revenues in the third quarter to £85.3m, with Betfair also enjoying a rise in mobile phone betting as the firm seeks to put a difficult period since its October 2010 flotation behind it.

Shares are still languishing a third below Betfair's £13 launch price, closing yesterday 4p lower at 881p. The group has been hit by a string of senior departures over the past 18 months – including former chief executive David Yu – and had the payment card details of 2.3 million customers stolen by cyber-criminals.

Mr Morana said: "We had a tough time post-IPO, I can't deny that. But the fundamentals of the business have never gone away."