The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has reported a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in suspicious betting alerts raised by gambling regulators and operators during the first quarter of 2018.
A total of 38 reports of unusual betting patterns were generated from the 24,489 matches played across all tournaments and events between January and March. This was up from the 30 alerts generated in 2017, but far down on the 48 alerts generated in Q1 2016.
The majority of the alerts were raised on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men's Futures tournament, which was responsible for 23 of the 38 alerts in Q1. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Men's Challenger tournament generated the second-highest with six instances.
The TIU stressed that the alerts could have been caused by a number of mitigating factors, such as incorrect odds-setting, player fitness, fatigue and form, or playing conditions and personal circumstances.
Meanwhile the TIU has strengthened its investigative, intelligence and educational capabilities with three new appointments.
This has seen veteran detective Karen Risby join as an investigator, following a 20-year career that has seen her deployed in Special Branch and counterterrorism units. Most recently she served as ethics and compliance manager for US defence contractor Supreme Group, carrying out integrity training and investigations for military operations in Africa and the Middle East.
She will be supported by new TIU intelligence analyst Steven Downes, who becomes the fourth member of the TIU Information and Intelligence team. He too is a police veteran, having worked in a number of London-based police intelligence roles.
The final new recruit is Richard Sackey-Addo, who has joined the TIU as an education co-ordinator. He previously served as a university tennis coordinator for the Tennis Foundation and as part of the ITF's coach education department in Valencia, Spain.