Written by Allison Danzig
Here is another betting scandal in tennis…this is from 1939…Bobby Riggs betting at Wimbledon – on himself…I can’t believe any journalists have mentioned this in the context of the alleged Nikolay Davydenko betting scandal. Below is the excerpt from the upcoming book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS (www.newchapterpressmedia.com ) written by the man who took my place in tennis journalism, Bud Collins.
Bobby Riggs’ fresh attitude, his willingness to bet on anything, his entire shtick, may have clouded his greatness on court and his resourcefulness in all situations. But foes, especially the better ones, never doubted. He is the only man to play Wimbledon once and win all three titles. He claimed he won $108,000 betting on himself to make the triple.
“I started with 500 bucks,” he recalled. “A London bookmaker gave me 3-to-1 odds on the singles, where I was seeded second behind Bunny Austin. I said if I win, let it ride on the doubles so he gave me 6-to-1 on that. I said let’s keep going, so he gave me 12-to-1 on the mixed. I had to win the three or lose it all.
“Even though bookmaking was legal there, I was an amateur, and the USLTA would have frowned on betting on tennis. I was afraid of what the USLTA would do if they knew an amateur had all that money so I was hush-hush about it. I left the dough in a London bank, figuring I’d pick it up after I turned pro. But the war came, so it sat there gathering interest. A nice nest egg when I got out of the Navy. I sure was praying for the British to fight off Hitler and save my money.”