Retired tennis great John McEnroe said he is worried that the Russian mafia and other organized crime might have infiltrated professional tennis, AFP reported Friday.
"The thing that worries me is that mafia types, like the Russian mafia, could be involved. That's potentially pretty dark and scary," McEnroe told The Daily Telegraph.
McEnroe, a former No. 1 and part of the heyday of American tennis prior to the Sampras-Agassi era, said he believes players are throwing matches because of threats to themselves and their families.
"I think that's the side that people aren't really looking at with these match-fixing stories. Someone may have threatened the players, and they are put in a situation. I'm guessing that could happen. That would make more sense to me than top players throwing a match for money.
"Throwing a match for money would be stupid, as you would be risking losing what you've worked for your whole life. It seems crazy that players would take that risk for money. It would make more sense that they've been threatened in some way and that's why they're doing it."
McEnroe's comments come on the heels of suspicions regarding Russian player Nikolay Davydenko, the fourth-ranked player in the world. He is being investigated by tennis governing body ATP after a strange defeat in Poland in August.
Moreover, Alessio di Mauro of Italy was suspended for nine months for betting on matches and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany has denied accusations that he has fixed matches.
"With a high-ranked guy like Davydenko, he's making so much money to begin with that he'd be risking so much by doing it, as if you get caught you should be banned for life," McEnroe said.
"But it's pretty tough to prove that someone has thrown a match unless you're tapping the guy's phone or something.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
"And if someone says that they'll give you 50,000 pounds, so your entire year's money, I think there's a strong possibility that they have taken the money, without a doubt," McEnroe said.
"There is definitely temptation for people. It's becoming more of a drama because there's more money in sports."
Serena Williams enters the French Open with the rest of the draw fading fast in her rearview mirror. Can anyone stand in her way?
Scenes from Down Under
Check out the best images from the 2013 Australian Open.
The best of Wimbledon
The best images from the Grand Slam tournament at the All-England Club.
French Open 2012: Top 10 Shots
June 10, 2012: John McEnroe, Ted Robinson, and Mary Carillo look back at the Top Ten best moments from the 2012 French Open.