Novak Djokovic reveals he was offered $200,000 to fix matches
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has just won his first match at the Australian Open against challenger Hyeon Chung of South Korea, revealed to reporters following his straight sets victory that he had been approached to fix matches.
The revelations come in light of this morning’s joint report by the BBC and Buzzfeed that “at least 16 of the top 50-ranked players” were involved in match-fixing, most significantly at Wimbledon, where they are alleged to have thrown matches.
He revealed that he had first been approached in 2007 to throw matches at that year's St. Petersburg Open in the Russian city.
The Serb said he had not been approached directly, but via ‘people’ who were trying to talk to him through his entourage. "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 said, saying that he had ‘dealt with’ the people approaching him.
Djokovic said that although he had been approached on multiple occasions then, it was never direct, as a result of which he had ‘nothing more to say’ on the subject. He did reveal, however, that he had been offered US$200,000 to throw a match, an offer he refused as he described fixing as a “crime in sport.”
The allegations are even more stark in light of the fact that UK bookmakers William Hill are part sponsors of the Australian Open – a fact that the Serb was in fact questioned about during the course of the press conference, one he described as “borderline” while saying he did not have a “clear opinion on that.”
Djokovic, who is the reigning champion at the Australian Open has now progressed to the second round.
ATP authorities, meanwhile, have so far denied the allegations, although those involved with the Tennis Investigative Unit, which was set up in 2007, say there is strong evidence to suggest that the allegations are, in fact, true.
No identities have so far been made public.