A recent report from the BBC and Buzzfeed News claims that professional tennis has had a match-fixing problem, and that those in charge have known about it and refused to act.
The events detailed in the report are mainly from back in 2007, and because no direct betting connections could be confirmed, no individual players were named. But Novak Djokovic said that he was targeted back then, and was once offered $200,000 to lose a first-round match at a tournament in Russia.
Djokovic said he wasn't approached directly. Instead, "I was approached through people that were working with me at that time," he said, making clear that the offer was flat-out rejected. He didn't even attend the tournament, but he said he still didn't like the fact that someone even bothered to consider him for such a thing.
"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," he said. "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."
Roger Federer also weighed in on the report.
"I would love to hear names," he said, via ESPN. "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 slam? It's 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?"
The report claims that 16 players who were ranked in the top 50 were repeatedly flagged by an internal unit for match fixing, but that nothing was done about it. Without concrete evidence linking specific players to the illegal activity (and since this happened so long ago), it's unclear whether there will be any real consequences.
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