Tanking in tennis – The Repercussions

Tanking in tennis refers to a player’s act of intentionally playing bizarrely without a sense of competition in order to lose the match. The act of tanking is strictly discouraged in the sport of tennis and had historically proven to levy hefty fines on the player.

The official rulebooks of both ATP (All Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) have a separate section on “Best Efforts” under the Code of Conduct. It states that a player must use his or her best efforts in a competitive match. The monitoring of a  player whether he or she is competitive enough or not is done by the chair umpire and the referee.

When a player resorts to tanking, the “best efforts” law is violated and an unsportsmanlike conduct violation is enforced. The amount of fine imposed on a player for such behavior varies in both ATP and WTA. According to the ATP, a player is fined $20k in an ATP Challenger Event, $30k in an ATP 250 event, $40k in an ATP 500 event and $60k in an ATP 1000 event. If a player violates this law again in the same calendar year, then the amount of fine will increase by 100%. In WTA, the fine is up to $10k, irrespective of the tier of the tournament.

The law further states that if the best efforts rule is hampered vehemently in a manner that is “injurious to the tournament” or “singularly egregious” or “flagrant”, then a Fines Committee decides whether the Player  Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior has occurred. In such scenarios, a player won’t receive his or her earnings from the tournament until the decision by the committee arrives. In recent times, Nick Kyrgios and Benoit Paire have been fine for tanking matches. 

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