A day after a report about widespread match fixing in tennis, more international players, former and present, reveal approaches to throw matches
Melbourne: A day after BBC and Buzzfeed reported the existence of widespread match fixing in tennis, a number of players have spoken about approaches made to them to throw away matches. On Monday, World no 1 Novak Djokovic had said that his team was approached in St Petersburg to fix a match in 2006 for $200,000.
Yesterday, former French ace Arnaud Clement, Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis and former British Davis Cupper player Arvind Parmar have all said that they were approached to fix matches.
Happened in Russia
Clement said he was approached with a large sum of money to forfeit one of his matches. He told France Info radio station that the incident took place in Russia where he was set to play a match, when an "unknown" person approached him with the proposal, which the player refused, reports Efe. Clement hoped there would be harsh punishments for those individuals involved in match-fixing cases if there is sufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, Aussie Kokkinakis said he was offered money via social media to throw a game. Kokkinakis, who is nursing a shoulder injury that has kept him out of this year's Australian Open, dismissed the offers from match-fixers as little more than comments from "randoms" on social media. The 19-year-old added that it was not uncommon for players to be propositioned ahead of big matches.
"I have received offers, not face-to-face, but on social media," Kokkinakis was quoted as saying by radio station 3AW. "You read some stuff on your Facebook page, just randoms from nowhere, saying, 'I'll pay you this much money to tank the game', but you try to block it off ... get rid of that stuff and focus on what you need to do ahead. You don't really take it seriously, there's all these randoms around the place," he said.
Britain's former Davis Cup player Arvind Parmar said struggling tennis pros were the most vulnerable to match-fixing offers, revealing that a shifty figure once approached him with a cash-stuffed envelope. Parmar (37) who retired in 2006, said the allegations of widespread corruption did not come as a shock as he had turned down a bung himself.
"My only surprise at the reports this week is that the fixing allegedly involved players in Grand Slams as they have more to lose, and I've only heard rumours about players at a lower level," Parmar wrote in The Times newspaper.
Parmar, who reached a career-high world ranking of 137, said he was once approached at a tournament in Groningen in the Netherlands in 2004, on the second-tier Challenger tour.
"Players on the Challenger circuit are quite vulnerable and it's easy to see why they're approached, as most of them are doing well to break even financially. Being presented with cash and no questions asked is a big carrot at that level," he wrote.
Parmar said of the approach he instantly dismissed: "I was offered an envelope full of euros to lose in two sets, only an hour before I was due on court. I was approached by a random guy as I was coming off the practice courts. He showed me the money and said that I had to lose in two sets. He seemed anxious, nervous, and after a few quick words, he began trying to press an envelope stuffed with euros into my hand.
"It was a substantial amount of money tens of thousands — way more than I would have earned from winning the tournament and more than most players at that level would make in a year. But it wasn't tempting at all. It was a split-second decision for me to say, 'Absolutely not.' I didn't even consider it, and was in a state of complete shock afterwards." Parmar played for Britain in the 2006 Davis Cup, when he faced Serbia's Novak Djokovic.
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