Nicolas Kicker. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Just a few days before the French Open, the tennis world was rocked by another match-fixing scandal on Thursday.
Nicolas Kicker, the 84th-ranked men’s player in the world, was found guilty of “contriving the outcome of a match” in June of 2015 at the ATP Challenger tournament in Padova, Italy and another match at the ATP Challenger tournament in Baranquilla, Colombia.
The news caught everyone, including Kicker, by surprise as the 25-year-old Argentine was slated to practice twice today with Kei Nishikori to continue his preparation for Roland Garros.
The above video is from the Barranquilla Challenger. At the time, red flags were raised about Kicker’s performance, but no action was taken until now.
According to a release from the Tennis Integrity Unit, Kicker was also found guilty of failing to report a corrupt approach and of not cooperating with a TIU investigation into the allegations made against him. Because he was found guilty, Kicker will not be permitted to play in any matches until a punishment is determined.
This isn’t anything new for tennis. The powers that be in the sport have long been battling match-fixing, especially on the Challenger level where players aren’t paid all that much, for some time.