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Tennis legend Mark Philippoussis penalized for betting sponsorship breach

Australian tennis legend Mark Philippoussis has found himself in hot water with the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after breaching tennis betting sponsorship regulations. The ITIA has fined Philippoussis $10,000 and handed him a suspended four-month ban following an investigation into his involvement with a gambling operator‘s promotional content.

The violation falls under Section D.1.b of the 2022 TACP rules, which prohibit any “Facilitation” of Tennis Betting by Covered Persons, a category that includes accredited coaches like Philippoussis. Although the case doesn’t involve corruption, it highlights the importance of players, coaches, and others involved in the sport understanding and adhering to the regulations concerning interactions with betting companies.

ITIA CEO Karen Moorhouse emphasized the need for players and Covered Persons to seek clarity on potential commercial arrangements and to reach out to the agency if unsure about any rules. The ITIA aims to prevent breaches proactively and maintain the integrity of professional tennis worldwide.

Philippoussis, who reached the finals of both the US Open in 1998 and Wimbledon in 2003, cooperated fully with the ITIA during the investigation and did not contest the charge. As part of the sanctions, the suspension will only be enforced if he commits another violation during the four-month period that began on July 21, 2023.

The Australian tennis icon has also made a name for himself as a coach, having worked with players like Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. His contributions to Tsitsipas’s development, in particular, have been highly valued, with Philippoussis being in Tsitsipas’s coaching box during the Australian Open earlier this year. However, the two parted ways before the French Open in May.

Tsitsipas praised Philippoussis’s wisdom and knowledge, appreciating his ability to relate to the challenges and experiences faced by players on the tour. Despite the setback from the ITIA sanction, Philippoussis’s coaching career will continue with a renewed awareness of the regulations surrounding betting sponsorships.

The case serves as a reminder that tennis authorities take betting-related violations seriously and are committed to upholding the integrity of the sport. Players and coaches must remain vigilant about their associations with betting operators and seek guidance from the ITIA when needed to avoid breaching any rules in the future.

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