The world of professional tennis was rocked by a major gambling scandal Monday after a leaked report named dozens of players suspected of rigging matches in exchange for cash. This just goes to prove that sadly no sport in the world is entirely free of corruption and criminals will find a way to taint the sanctity of sportsmanship, be it in the case of cricket, tennis or football. In the light of these allegation world champion Novak Djokovic came forward to admit that a member of his staff was approached about fixing a match at the St Petersburg Open in Russia in 2007, offering him $200,000, but it never reached him and he did not play in the tournament.

News reports however portray a different story. There are claims that there were links between gambling syndicates around Europe and top-level players. The evidence that was gathered in a previous investigation was given to the tennis authorities but no players were sanctioned over the evidence that was obtained. Among other notable claims, it alleged that three possible fixed matches took place at Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in tennis. Evidence also suggests that match-fixing remained limited to the male games.

For there to be superstar champions in sport, there has to be a bundle of less successful, more poorly compensated players. These athletes, who train just as hard as the big names, realise that they’ll never win lucrative sponsorships or access the big prize money. Unfortunately they become susceptible to making more money through illegal means before they retire. This is an inevitable result of the lopsided financial reward system in sports.

The ongoing challenge for tennis will be to ensure that it closely monitors all future matches to ensure transparency, especially those away from the grand slam spotlight, to guard against results that are only unforeseen to those who aren’t in on the swindle.