As professional tennis plans for a resumption of main tour schedules in August, the Tennis Integrity Unit’s Education department has delivered a series of Return to Tennis webinars to prepare the sport for the integrity challenges that may await.
The initiative was developed to address the exceptional circumstances created by the global Coronavirus lockdown. With reduced playing and earning opportunities and months of inactivity, the risks associated with betting-related corruption and doping violations are believed to have increased.
This combination of factors will raise heightened concerns as professional tennis resumes at ATP, WTA and ITF tour level.
A series of bespoke webinars delivered by TIU Education, in partnership with the TADP (Tennis Anti-Doping Programme) provided guidance and information to equip players to recognise and manage the risks associated with the resumption of tennis. These include anticipated renewed activity by corruptors targeting players and others who may be financially vulnerable. On the anti-doping front, advice and updates were provided for testing, Covid-19 health issues, supplements and medications.
The series of 10 player Education webinars, which included language translation options, was made available to all professional players. It is being followed by similar Return to Tennis sessions designed for match officials and tournament personnel during July.
Matt Perry, the TIU’s Education and Training Manager, commented: “The resumption of professional tennis is eagerly awaited, so we need to ensure that everyone involved is fully aware of the changed integrity landscape they may encounter when that happens.
“We’ve been delighted with the positive response from the tennis community and in particular the support received from the ATP, WTA and ITF in working with us to get these important messages out to their player groups.”
The joint initiative from the sport’s anti-corruption and anti-doping bodies is the first instance of a combined approach being taken to player education. This will become a standard practice when the TADP – currently administered by the ITF - joins the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).*
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to betting-related corruption in professional tennis.
* Note: the ITIA will replace the TIU to become the independent legal entity for tennis integrity in January 2021. The Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board, which will oversee the ITIA, has agreed that the TADP will join the new organisation at an appropriate date, to be confirmed.