The tennis world was rocked Monday with allegations of rife match-fixing. BBC and BuzzFeed News revealed they are in possession of “secret files” that contain evidence of fixing in the sport. But it was Novak Djokovic’s revelation that sent further shockwaves.
Barely hours after BBC’s report emerged, World No 1 Djokovic revealed that he had been offered to lose a first-round match at St Petersburg Open in 2007. Novak Djokovic, 20 at the time, said he wasn’t approached directly but through a middle man. “I was approached through people that were working with me at that time. It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this kind of…you know, somebody may call it an opportunity,” said the Serbian. (Watch Video Above)
Novak Djokovic, speaking at the sidelines of the ongoing Australian Open, said there was no room for corruption in the sport. “For me, that’s (fixing) an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport honestly. I don’t support it.”
The shocking report, released by BBC, claims that there is a core group of 16 suspected male players
who have been ranked in the top 50, including a U.S. Open winner, involved in the corruption racket. BBC wrote: “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. All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.”
Federer: Give me some names
Roger Federer, the Swiss master, was very eager to know who “those 16 men” were. “I would love to hear names,” said the leading Grand Slam winner in tennis history. “Then at least it’s concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which Grand Slam? It’s (the report) so all over the place. It’s nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation. Like I said, it’s super serious and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport. So how high up does it go?”
Chris Kermode, head of the Association of Tennis Professionals, rejected that there is full proof evidence of fixing. Kermode said he had “been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated”. However, he added, “While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information.”
Typically, BBC is a reliable source. Surely, there would be enough evidence to make such tall claims.