London (AFP): Britain’s former Davis Cup player Arvind Parmar said struggling tennis pros were the most vulnerable to match-fixing offers, revealing today that a shifty figure once approached him with a cash-stuffed envelope.
In allegations rocking the world of tennis, the BBC and BuzzFeed are claiming that a “core group” of 16 players who reached the top 50 in the past decade, including Grand Slam title-winners, have repeatedly caused suspicion over match-fixing.
Parmar, 37, who retired in 2006, said the allegations of widespread corruption did not come as a shock as he had turned down a bung himself.
“My only surprise at the reports this week is that the fixing allegedly involved players in Grand Slams as they have more to lose, and I’ve only heard rumours about players at a lower level,” Parmar wrote in The Times newspaper.
Parmar, who reached a career-high world ranking of 137, said he was once approached at a tournament in Groningen in the Netherlands in 2004, on the second-tier Challenger tour.
“Players on the Challenger circuit are quite vulnerable and it’s easy to see why they’re approached, as most of them are doing well to break even financially,” he wrote.
“Being presented with cash and no questions asked is a big carrot at that level.” Parmar said of the approach he instantly dismissed: “I was offered an envelope full of euros to lose in two sets, only an hour before I was due on court.
“I was approached by a random guy as I was coming off the practice courts. He showed me the money and said that I had to lose in two sets.
“He seemed anxious, nervous, and after a few quick words he began trying to press an envelope stuffed with euros into my hand.
“It was a substantial amount of money — tens of thousands — way more than I would have earned from winning the tournament and more than most players at that level would make in a year.
“But it wasn’t tempting at all. It was a split-second decision for me to say, ‘Absolutely not.’ I didn’t even consider it, and was in a state of complete shock afterwards.”
Parmar played for Britain in the 2006 Davis Cup, when he faced Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, the current world number one.