Habitual Match-fixing Leads to Lifetime Ban for Chilean Tennis Coach

A long-time tennis coach from Chile is now getting a long-time ban from the sport. The International Tennis Integrity Association (ITIA) has kicked Sebastián Rivera out of tennis for good over his love for match-fixing.

Tennis match-fixing
Tennis match-fixing
Brandon Nakashima celebrates his first win in an ATP tour. Match-fixing in tennis continues to be an issue, with the ITIA now issuing a lifetime ban against a former coach for rigging games. (Image: Will LeFevre)

Chile has produced a number of recognizable tennis pros over the years – Cristian Garín is the country’s number two and made it to number 17 in the world rankings, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). There’s also Marcelo Ríos, who once topped the ATP’s list.

However, there’s no telling how many lives and potential greats Rivera affected by rigging the outcome of games. At the last count, the ITIA identified at least 64, but the number could be higher.

Systematic Abuse of Tennis

Rivera was once an aspiring tennis pro, although he never had the skills to advance higher than position 705 on any list, according to the ATP. Perhaps realizing he had no future as a player, he turned to coaching.

It was during this time of shaping the future of rising tennis players that Rivera began violating the ITIA’s rules. The organization doesn’t explain how it initially uncovered his crimes, only stating that his case involved “the highest number” of violations it had ever come across.

Rivera’s world began to unravel in May when the ITIA’s Tennis Integrity Unit launched an investigation. It determined that, at least in 2017 and 2018, he had engaged in a number of match-fixing incidents.

The ousted coach didn’t do himself any favors. When the ITIA put his career under a microscope, he didn’t bother to participate in the investigation. As a result, he never stepped forward to dispute the charges against him.

The ITIA could only draw its conclusions from there. This led to a lifetime ban on coaching and playing in any sanctioned match. In addition, he can’t even attend any sanctioned games.

Rivera will also have to pay a $250,000 fine. That certainly won’t come from his tennis winnings, as the ATP’s records show he only won $15,000 as a player.

Despite the lack of clarity regarding the exact nature of the violations, the ITIA provided details on the sections of its rules that Rivera violated. These included soliciting or facilitating betting on the outcome of matches and attempting to rig the outcome of matches. In addition, Rivera may have bribed a player or players to take a dive in competition.

From Clay Court to Concrete Jungle

A LinkedIn profile matching his name with a description of being a former Chilean ATP tennis player indicates that he now lives in Las Vegas. He lists his profession as an international representative for “All world Ventures,” (sic), a company with more fluff than substance in its description.

That “foreign limited-liability company” points to an entity with additional ties to the tennis world. In its list of directors and officers is Keanu D. Ellen, a former US unranked player.

Ellen’s most recent tennis matches were in 2017, according to the ATP. That year, he was busy in Egypt and Tunisia, the latter of which has also been in the spotlight for match-fixing in tennis.

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