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Tennis Pros Warned About Twitter and Online Gambling


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What are the chances that the ‘talented twits’ who invented the popular
online social networking facility, Twitter, a couple of years ago
envisioned that one day their internet invention would become such a
controversial and heated topic within the realms of professional tennis? Pretty
slim, we’d say.

Given the high number of gambling scandals that have plagued professional tennis
in recent years – involving match fixing and illicit online betting
tennis authorities are understandably eager to root out corruption in the sport,
as well as any hint that players may be aiding betting by disclosing sensitive
information.

Enter Twitter, where everyone and his brother has a say, no matter how vapid or
superfluous. It seems that professional tennis players who are big Twitter fans
have been warned by tennis authorities not to disclose information that could be
used to sway betting patterns and risk bringing the sport into disrepute.

Tennis authorities are particularly concerned about players that ‘Tweet’ about
upcoming matches and player conditions. In fact, the issue has come to a head in
the U.S. Open which is on right now. According to reports, signs have been
posted throughout the venue entitled ‘Important. Player Notice. Twitter
Warning.’

The signs read: ‘Sending certain sensitive information concerning your match or
other matches and/or players should be avoided. Depending on the information
sent out this could be determined as the passing of ‘inside information.’ The
signs were signed by Jeff Rees, who is the head of the Tennis Integrity Unit.

The signs are there to remind players, their family members, coaches and tennis
officials that Twitter may not be used on-court during matches and that the
posting of information deemed to be sensitive is in violation of the rules. This
includes comments about players’ health, court conditions and even the weather.

Pros with a big following on Twitter include # 2 in the 2009 WTA Rankings,
Serena Williams, and # 5 in the 2009 ATP World Rankings, Andy Roddick. Roddick
recently tweeted: ‘I think its lame the US Open is trying to regulate our
tweeting.. I understand the on-court issue but not sure they can tell us if we
can.’

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