Germany's Dominik Koepfer, who reached the last 16 at the US Open, says that the low level of prize money offered at the lower tournaments on the professional circuit is one of the main reasons for betting in matches in tennis.
The 25 year old was speaking to the German Press Agency and commented: "I can already imagine that some people are simply desperate and that it is their last chance to continue playing tennis. It is actually impossible to pay the travel expenses and everything in the first few years.
I was lucky to have the support of my parents and the university. Not everyone has that." Currently ranked No. 94, Koepfer says he has never been asked about betting himself. The prize money for the bigger events has been raised significantly in recent times, especially for first round losers and the same has again been increased for the Australian Open in January.
Recently, the German media broke a story that 135 players are being investigated in a worldwide betting scandal in which a lower-ranked German player and a former Top 30 player in the world is also involved. The investigations are spanning multiple countries and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is said to be interacting with the Belgian authorities on the same.
The Tennis Integrity Unit has banned 20 players on the tour this year, mainly from the lower ranked players, for betting. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) Supervisory Board recently announced some plans to help eliminate match fixing at the lower levels, including a ban on the collection of live scoring data for minor events offering prize money upto $15,000.