Every sport has its fair share of shocking news and controversies. Pro tennis is no exception. BBC even called it a sport riddled with corruption.
BBC is right. Below are some of the biggest scandals to hit pro tennis.
A paternity suit
It began with a seemingly faultless sexual encounter at a London restaurant, but it began one of Boris Becker’s worst nightmares. Angela Ermakova, the Russian model, came forward and accused Becker of impregnating her.
Becker initially denied anything about it until 2001 when he acknowledged the paternity of Anna—the product of their well-publicised encounter inside the broom cupboard of Nobu.
Becker shares joint custody of Anna, 19, who followed her mother’s footsteps as a model.
Drug test fails
Several tennis players—men and women—failed drug tests time and again.
In 1997, Andre Agassi hit the lowest point of his tennis career when traces of crystal meth was found on his samples. He wrote to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) claiming that a friend spiked his drink. The ATP believed him and served him a warning.
In his 2009 autobiography, however, Agassi admitted using crystal met and that he lied on the letter.
Martina Hingis retired shortly after failing a drug test that found cocaine in her system, at only 27 years old. That was in 2007.
In 2013, her ex-husband accused Hingis of serial adultery. According to him, he found her with another man on their bed a year after their 2010 wedding.
In 2016, Maria Sharapova received a two-year ban following a test that found meldonium, a banned substance, on her system.
Her team filed an appeal that successfully reduced her violations to 15 months. She resumed playing in 2017.
Rafael Nadal was also accused of failing the doping test after his seven months hiatus in 2012 due to an injury. The accuser was ex-Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot.
This caused quite a stir involving the Spanish Olympic Committee who claimed that Nadal was subject to several anti-doping controls. The then High Sports Council President, Miguel Cardenal, said that the accusation was a slander of an important athlete in history.
Nadal sued Bachelot in 2016. He won the case, and Bechelot was fined €12,000.
Locker room altercation
Nick Kyrgios is known for his crude behaviour on and off-court. After a match against Stan Wawrinka at the 2015 Rogers Cup, Kyrgios threw obscene comments on his opponent’s girlfriend.
A fight ensued. Kyrgios underwent a probationary period for six months and fined $10,000 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Wawrinka, on the other hand, took it to Twitter to air his disappointment. He said, “What was said I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy.”
Match-fixing is a controversy that the tennis world has yet to solve.
Daniel Koellerer, an Austrian player, received a lifetime ban after he was found liable of betting-related charges.
He was initially fined with $100,000, but the court decided to overturn the decision since Koellerer hasn’t benefited from any of it.
Also, Koellerer once raised the ire of Stefan Koubek after losing a match between them. In 2010 National Tennis League, Koubek turned abusive, shouting expletives. At one point, he choked Koellerer while changing courts.
Koubek was quickly disqualified, and the umpire cancelled the match.