WSJ article on match-fixing in the WTA. It's amazing how open and unabashed this Avilov dude is. About his creepyness.
Two bettors said they have paid Mr. Avilov to place tennis bets for them and have been pleased with the returns, although they didn't offer specifics or any proof of payment. Last month, one investor -- an American from Houston -- flew in to meet Mr. Avilov at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. The investor said he'd come to pay for Mr. Avilov's hotel room and handed him $3,000 in cash. Mr. Avilov placed online bets for the investor before heading to the tournament each morning. While placing online bets is illegal under U.S. law, the authorities rarely prosecute individual bettors.
To gather intelligence, Mr. Avilov travels to three to six small tournaments a year to watch lower-ranked players, chat up members of their entourages and sleuth into their personal lives. "Just knowing a player better helps," he says.
This winter, Mr. Avilov discovered Ms. Bychkova, another Russian player coached by her mother, kept a diary on Livejournal.com. He thought she might be interested in making some extra money -- in one blog entry she waxed poetic about a Louis Vuitton purse. In February, after registering for the site, he sent her a match-fixing proposal through a private message.
Both Mr. Avilov and Ms. Bychkova say Ms. Bychkova declined the proposal. She says she didn't tell anyone, including tennis officials, because she thought it would "sound really funny" to report someone she'd never met who contacted her through her blog. "I don't want to fix matches and will never do it," says Ms. Bychkova.
Mr. Avilov says he "definitely" intends to contact other players through online social-networking sites and if the opportunity presents itself, to ask them to fix matches. "My job is to understand these girls and to think like them," he says.