Japanese player claims coach asked her to lose doubles match

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The Independent Online

The size of the task in countering corruption has been underlined by a Japanese player's claim that she was asked to throw a match here. Akiko Morigami said that a coach of her national team had asked her to lose a doubles match so that her playing partner, Aiko Nakamura, could play elsewhere this week and attempt to earn the rankings points that might earn a place in the Olympic Games this summer. Morigami, who did not name the coach, and Nakamura lost 6-0, 6-1 to Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung.

The ITF said the French Open referee and Grand Slam supervisors would investigate the claim and insisted it took the allegation "very seriously". The major governing bodies recently agreed to set up a unit to investigate claims of corruption.

While players might not admit to it in the current climate, there are a number of circumstances in which it is not necessarily in their best interests to give of their best. The rankings system, for example, means that players might not lose any points for making an early exit from a minor tournament, at a time when they might prefer to rest or practise. In other circumstances players might "tank" – deliberately lose – after making a poor start in order to save themselves for more important events.

Betting might not be a motive, but corruption can become an issue as soon as any information that a player is less than 100 per cent committed is communicated to a gambler.