LONDON – The Spanish men’s doubles team of Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero are being investigated for suspected match-fixing in a first-round contest at Wimbledon.
Verdasco and Marrero lost that match last Thursday 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-1 to Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer and Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
Australian news service ABC News first reported on the probe, but it was the New York Times, citing online gaming Web site Pinnacle Sports, that confirmed the names of the players under suspicion in an article on Wednesday.
Pinnacle confirmed that the match in question had been flagged due to “suspicious betting behavior,” the Times said, adding that the Web site noted that it had observed a series of bets placed from accounts with a history of wagers on suspicious matches.
Those bets had been placed an hour before the match in question began.
“We followed our strict protocol when it comes (to) match-fixing alerts by notifying the authorities on site at Wimbledon and reducing our market offering immediately,” Pinnacle manager Sam Gomersall was quoted as saying by ABC News.
Marrero, for his part, told EFE by telephone that he had been taken aback by the news he was under investigation.
“I was at home packing my suitcase because tomorrow, Friday, I’m heading to Germany, and this news caught me by surprise. I had no idea. What do want me to say? Just like always, go ahead and investigate because I’m very much at ease,” he said.
Marrero is ranked No. 54 in doubles and has a career-high doubles ranking of No. 5 and career-high singles ranking of No. 143.
Verdasco, meanwhile, is a highly accomplished player who reached the men’s singles semifinals of the 2009 Australian Open and has been ranked as high as No. 8 in doubles and No. 7 in singles.
Marrero has come under suspicion before, having been investigated for purported match-fixing over a 2016 Australian Open mixed-doubles contest that was flagged due to abnormal betting patterns.
His partner in that match, countrywoman Lara Arruabarrena; and the opposing doubles team – Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and the Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova – all were investigated but subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by the Tennis Integrity Unit, a London-based anti-corruption body.