The current investigation into Caroline Wozniacki’s retirement at the Luxembourg Open is one of those stories that you have examine several times to figure out if there really is a story or just a lot of events that seem connected or not.
Prior to retiring in her match to Anne Kremer while leading 7-5, 5-0, Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, came on to the court at 3-0 and told his daughter that with her hamstring injury it wasn’t worth her continuing since she wouldn’t be able to play the next round anyway. As his comments were picked up by on-court microphones, internet betting sites surged in traffic and bets against Wozniacki, implying that perhaps she was throwing the match.
The WTA continues to investigate if any match fixing was involved and a new Tennis Integrity Unit run by the tennis powers that be is also involved. Although consensus is high that Wozniacki will not be fined for any betting maneuvers, she could be fined for a “lack of effort”.
Even if Wozniacki and her father didn’t use the best judgment in ending the match at the right time, the fact that their discussion was broadcast on microphones for everybody is being overlooked.
Unlike the NBA, NFL, et al where coaches and players know they are being watched every second on TV and on court and use the “huddle” to hide their next move, WTA players and coaches tend to sit casually on the sideline and have a nice chat about how things are going. The WTA hasn’t figured out that by allowing mics on court, they are more likely opening the door for more betting speculation during on-court coaching rather then enhancing the audience experience by allowing fans to eavesdrop on a player/coach talk.
On court coaching and microphones during WTA matches isn’t doing anything to enhance or improve the game for players or the fans and should end. Instead of punishing Wozniacki for her sportsmanship, the WTA should refocus efforts on helping its players be healthy and consistent so they can play their best tennis each week which is all the fans really want in the end.