Tennis match-fixing is a crime: Novak Djokovic
Reacting to a report which claims widespread match fixing in tennis by some of the world's top players, World No 1 Serbian recalls an instance when he was approached to throw a game in St Petersburg
Melbourne: World No 1 Novak Djokovic (right) says he felt "terrible" when he was offered money to fix a match in 2006 and has denounced the practice as a "crime in sport."
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Broken: That's what the tennis world looked like yesterday after claims of match fixing in the sport surfaced through media reports. Pic/Getty Images. Inset: Novak Djokovic
Djokovic instantly rejected the bribe made to him 10 years ago and insists he is unaware of any match-fixing currently happening at the top level of the game.
"In my knowledge and information about match-fixing, nothing's happening at the top level," he said. An investigation carried out by the BBC and Buzzfeed alleges that over the last decade a core group of 16 players have repeatedly been brought to the attention of the sport's governing bodies over suspicions they have fixed matches.
The report claims all of the 16 players have ranked in the world's top 50 at some point and that more than half of them were playing in the Australian Open first round, which started yesterday. The BBC said the group also included "winners of Grand Slam titles."
Chris Kermode, president of the ATP which governs the men's professional tour, said they "absolutely reject" the suggestion that match-fixing evidence has been suppressed.
Djokovic claimed he was offered £110,000 to lose a first-round match in St Petersburg. Djokovic said: "I was not approached directly but through people who were working with me. Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn't even get to me.
It made me feel terrible because I don't want to be in any way linked to this — somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, it's an act of bad sportsmanship, a crime in sport, honestly.