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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With the Australian Open set to begin on Sunday, the tennis world is now reeling from a shocking report: 28 professional tennis players, including one who participated in last year’s U.S. Open, have been arrested over their involvement in a match-fixing ring.

Why it matters: A match-fixing scandal in any sport is cause for serious concern, but since this is the second time in the last 25 months that tennis is involved, it's particularly alarming — and suggests the problem could be deep-rooted enough to persist.

  • In December 2016, Spanish law enforcement arrested 6 low-level tennis players who allegedly received up to $1,000 per match for intentionally losing specific points or games.

Between the lines: Tennis, more so than maybe any other sport, lends itself to manipulation. For starters, it's an individual sport, so there's only one player who must act (and only one player to bribe).

  • On top of that, detection is difficult. (I'd imagine it's fairly easy for a pro to make an intentional hit into the net look unintentional.)

The big picture: While match-fixing has the potential to wreak havoc at all levels of tennis, thus far it has almost exclusively taken place at the lower levels of the sport where most players are dead broke.

  • Only 6,000 of the 14,000 players who entered International Tennis Federation Futures tournaments in 2013 earned any prize money, according to a recent study. Even worse, just 589 of them broke even when factoring in travel costs.
  • "Therein lies one of the reasons match-fixing is so prevalent at these lower-tier events," writes the Washington Post's Matt Bonesteel. "The prize money involved is often paltry, giving players an incentive to throw matches at tournaments in far-flung locales that few people are watching."

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.