TIU reveals suspicious betting patterns increased in 2016
Suspicious betting patterns relating to tennis matches increased in 2016, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit's first annual report.
The report confirms 292 alerts of unusual betting on tennis matches were submitted last year, compared to 246 in 2015.
The vast majority of the alerts came from the lower levels of the game, with only eight emerging from grand slam, ATP or WTA matches.
The TIU, which was established in 2008, came under heavy scrutiny 12 months ago after an investigation carried out by the BBC and Buzzfeed claimed the body had failed to heed warnings of wide-spread match-fixing at the top of the game. The TIU refuted the allegations.
In 2016, nine players and officials were convicted and sanctioned as a result of TIU investigations, with five cases involving lifetime bans from the sport. There were six successful prosecutions made in 2015.
Tennis Integrity Board chairman Philip Brook said: "During the year, information received from partners in the betting industry confirmed an increasing number of matches at the lower levels of the professional game that were the subject of unusual or suspicious betting patterns.
"While this was not conclusive proof of corruption, it is an indication of concern that in all cases has to be investigated by the TIU."
Following last year's damning allegations, an Independent Review Panel was established to assess the level of corruption in tennis and the effectiveness of the TIU's approach to stamping it out.
An interim report is expected in the spring, with the TIU committing to implement and fund all of the final report's recommendations.
One area likely to be on the agenda is funding, given the TIU's 2016 budget stood at just 2.4million US dollars, having been bumped up from the original 1.9million US dollars allocated at the start of the year.
That number is set to rise to 3.23 million US dollars in 2017 but still appears low when compared to the figures on offer in other areas of the sport.
The two singles champions at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, will earn more, pocketing 3.7million US dollars each.
And the 200,000 US dollars dedicated last year to anti-corruption training and education is less than a singles player will take just for reaching the last 16 in Melbourne.