World No 1 Novak Djokovic defends himself against fixing allegation by Italian paper surrounding his second round defeat to France's Fabrice Santoro in 2007 Paris Masters
Melbourne: World No 1 Novak Djokovic has strenuously denied any connection to match fixing.
Novak Djokovic celebrates his 6-3, 6-2 win over France's Quentin Halys in the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Italian newspaper Tuttosport featured allegations yesterday surrounding Djokovic's match against France's Fabrice Santoro at the Paris Masters in 2007, that the Serbian described as "absurd" and "not true". Djokovic was beaten by Santoro in the second round of the Paris tournament, losing 6-3 6-2.
Djoko enters 3rd round
The claims were put to Djokovic following his 6-1 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win against Frenchman Quentin Halys in the Australian Open second round, and the 10-time Grand Slam champion denied committing any offence.
"It's not true. I've lost that match. I don't know if you're trying to create a story about that match or for that matter any of the matches of the top players losing in the early rounds, I think it's just absurd," Djokovic said, adding: "Anybody can create a story about any match. That's my point. There haven't been too many matches where top players have lost in the last decade or so in early rounds. You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it."
"I think it's not supported by any kind of proof, any evidence, any facts. It's just speculation. So I don't think there is a story about it." At the time of his loss to Santoro, Djokovic said he had not been at peak physical fitness having undergone surgery to remove two wisdom teeth.
He said he had not practised for a week and was not able to play to "even 30 per cent" of his ability. Asked yesterday if he would take action against Tuttosport, Djokovic said: "I have nothing more to say, guys. If you have any other questions on any other subject, I'm ready to talk about this. I have nothing more to say."
Djokovic had previously explained how he turned down a bribe made to him in 2006, when he was offered 200,000 US dollars to lose a first-round match in St Petersburg. He said the approach never reached him as it was rejected by his team. Asked if the latest allegations saddened him, Djokovic said: "Of course. You don't want these kind of subjects or speculations going around.