World Number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic on Monday made a shocking revelation, saying he was once offered $ 200,000 to throw a match.
He was addressing a press-conference after media reports claimed 16 top 50 players including many grand slam champions threw matches in lieu of monitory benefits.
He said the offer was made in the year 2007 in St Petersburg.
“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,” AFP quoted him as saying.
“I was not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it,” he added.
Tennis authorities held a joint news conference at Melbourne Park to refute reports from the BBC and Buzzfeed News that match-fixing had gone unchecked in tennis.
ATP chairman Chris Kermode and Nigel Willerton, head of the Tennis Integrity Unit, represented the four governing bodies of tennis — the ATP, the WTA, the Grand Slam Board and the International Tennis Federation — in a hastily-convenednews conference to respond to allegations that in that last decade 16 players — all at some stage ranked in the top 50 –have been repeatedly flagged to the integrity unit.
Kermode said tennis authorities “absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason, or isn’t being investigated.”
Djokovic played his match, and then faced a grilling over the reports.
The allegations, he said, related to matches from almost 10 years ago and didn’t involve active players.
“I don’t think the shadow is cast over our sport,” he said. “People are talking about names, guessing who these players are, guessing those names. But there’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.
“From my knowledge and information about, you know, the match-fixing or anything similar, there is nothing happening on the top level.”
He said he couldn’t give a definitive defense of lower-tier tournaments, but added “there is an organization, authorities, people who take care of that on a daily basis and make sure to track it down.”