Match- fixing talk heats up
Melbourne, australia » Swiss superstar Roger Federer has heard enough speculation about matchfixing in tennis. If players are suspected of corruption, he wants names.
Federer was responding to reports by the BBC and BuzzFeed News published Monday that said tennis authorities have suppressed evidence of match- fixing and overlooked suspected cases involving players ranked in theworld’s top 50, including Grand Slam singles and doubles winners.
The reports said none of these players had faced sanctions and more than half would be playing at the Australian Open, which began Monday. The players weren’t identified by name.
“I’d love to hear names,” Federer said after sweeping Nikoloz Basilashvili 6- 2, 6- 1, 6- 2. “Then at least it’s concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Whowas it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? And which Slam?
“It’s super serious and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport. So how high up does it go? The higher it goes, the more surprised I would be.”
ATP chairman Chris Kermode appeared at a news conference to reject the assertion that match- fixing had gone unchecked in the sport, saying the Tennis Integrity Unit remained “constantly vigilant and not complacent” when it comes to tackling corruption.
“The Tennis Integrity Unit and tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match- fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated,” Kermode said.
Top- ranked Novak Djokovic said he doubted the problem extended to the top level of the sport, and pointed to the enhanced monitoring systems put in place.
“We have, I think, a sport ( that has) evolved and upgraded our programs and authorities to deal with these particular cases,” he said. “There’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players ( being involved in match- fixing), for that matter. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.”
Djokovic did confirm, though, that members of his support team were offered $ 200,000 to have him lose a first- round match in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2007.
“Iwas not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time,” he said. “Of course, we ( rejected) it right away. It didn’t even get to me — the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.”