Tennis World Reacts To Match-Fixing Expose: Novak Djokovic Reveals He Was Offered $200,000 To Fix A Match

• ‘I was approached through people working with me at that time’
• Angry Roger Federer calls allegations far-fetched

On a day of extended drama and fevered speculation, Novak Djokovic spoke in depth for the first time about being offered $200,000 (£140,000) to fix a match 10 years ago and Roger Federer, the game’s most venerated player, called the latest allegations, to be aired on the BBC on Tuesday night, “far-fetched”.

Djokovic and Serena Williams, the top-ranked players in the men’s and women’s game, were adamant there was no wrongdoing beyond minor incidents on the edges of the sport, and pointed out that no hard evidence had been produced.

The BBC, which conducted a long investigation in company with Buzzfeed News, has claimed an unnamed grand-slam winner was under suspicion, and that eight players who have been investigated during the past decade are in the main draw here.

They say they have a “cache of documents” stretching back to 2007 that expose “widespread suspected match-fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon. Over the last decade, 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit over suspicions they have thrown matches.”


After seeing off the exciting young Korean Hyeon Chung in three quick sets on the first day of the 2016 Australian Open, the defending champion Djokovic said: “I’ve heard about the story and I read that there were a couple of players mentioned who are not active anymore, talking about the matches that have happened almost 10 years ago. Of course, there is no room for any match-fixing or corruption in our sport. We’re trying to keep it as clean as possible. We have, I think, a sport that has evolved, and have upgraded our programmes and authorities to deal with these particular cases.

“I don’t think a shadow is cast over our sport. People are talking about names, guessing who these players are. But there’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players, for that matter. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.”

He spoke too about an incident in 2006 when it was alleged he had been offered $200,000 to throw a first-round match in St Petersburg, a tournament he did not eventually attend.

“I was not approached directly,” he said. “Well … I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team. Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.

“Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar. I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that.”

Pressed further, he went on to say: “It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this. Somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, that’s an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport, honestly. I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.

“I always have been taught and have been surrounded with people that had nurtured and, you know, respected the sport’s values. That’s the way I’ve grown up. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to, you know, get directly involved in these particular situations.”

Before what might or might not be explosive revelations on the BBC on Tuesday night, there was a sense here after the first day of the tournament that the only way these reheated claims will damage the sport is if players are named.

John Whittingdale voices concern over tennis match fixing – audio

John Whittingdale says allegations of match fixing in tennis are of ‘great concern’ and must not be ‘swept under the carpet’. Speaking on Monday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the cultiure secretary says fans and other competitors rely on the integrity of the game

  • Novak Djokovic tells of being offered $200,000 to fix a matc

Tennis officials reject match-fixing cover-up – video

Tennis authorities reject any suggestion that match-fixing evidence has been covered up or ignored. Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chief Chris Kermode told reporters in Melbourne at the start of Australian Open on Monday: ‘The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated.’ Photograph: Shuji Kajiyana

Tennis match-fixing claims: authorities ‘absolutely reject’ any cover-up

Roger Federer comments on match-fixing allegations: “I would like to hear names”

The world No. 3 was asked about the story in Melbourne Monday night.

“I would like to hear names … it’s such nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation,” he said.

“You have to take it super serious. This is more a question for guys in suits, not one in a tracksuit.”

 Posted at 5:00 a.m., Jan. 18

 

Djokovic reveals he was once offered $200,000 to fix a match

Despite saying he did not believe match-fixing was a widespread problem in world tennis, Djokovic did speak about an incident in 2007 when it was alleged he had been offered $200,000 to throw a first-round match at the St Petersburg Open, a tournament he did not eventually attend.

“I was not approached directly,” he said. “Well … I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team. Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.

“Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar. I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that.

“It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this. Somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, that’s an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport, honestly. I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.”

Women’s world No. 1 Serena Williams says she has never seen any indications of match-fixing in games she’s been involved in

Women’s world No. 1 Serena Williams says she has never seen any indications of match-fixing in games she’s been involved in

When I’m playing, I can only answer for me. I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard,” Williams told reporters following her opening-round victory.

“As an athlete, I do everything I can to be not only great, but historic. If that [match-fixing] is going on, I don’t know about it. I’m kind of sometimes in a little bit of a bubble.”

Men’s seventh seed Kei Nishikori has expressed shock at suggestions of corruption in world tennis

Men’s seventh seed Kei Nishikori has expressed shock at suggestions of corruption in world tennis

Yeah, it’s [surprising]. I didn’t know anything. I’m a little bit surprised, but, I mean, obviously I’ve never been involved with this. Actually I have no idea what’s going on,” the Japanese star told reporters after defeating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6–4 6–3 6–3 to advance to the second round

As the Australian Open starts in Melbourne, tennis officials denied that they had sat on evidence of match-fixing

As the Australian Open starts in Melbourne, tennis officials denied that they had sat on evidence of match-fixing

Association of Tennis Professionals Executive Chairman Chris Kermode said at a press conference held on Monday:

“The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason or hasn’t been properly investigated.”