Novak Djokovic was offered $200,000 to lose a match in 2007, he said Monday in response to the recent allegations of match fixing in men’s tennis.
On Sunday, BBC and BuzzFeed released a report alleging that 16 top-50 players, more than eight of which are participating in the Australian Open, have been flagged multiple times for match fixing but have continued to play without discipline from the Tennis Integrity Unit.
At a press conference Monday, Djokovic told reporters that he was approached indirectly through people who worked with him with an offer of $200,000 to throw a first-round match in a 2007 tournament in St. Petersburg. Djokovic said he did not entertain the offer.
“Of course, we threw it away right away,” Djokovic said. “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.”
He said he has not heard of similar allegations in the years since the offer, and advised that the BBC/Buzzfeed report is “just speculation” because no player names were produced.
“From my knowledge and information about, you know, the match fixing or anything similar, there is nothing happening on the top level, as far as I know,” Djokovic said.
“Of course, there is no room for any match fixing or corruption in our sport. We’re trying to keep it as clean as possible. We have, I think, a sport evolved and upgraded our programs and authorities to deal with these particular cases.”
The five-time Australian Open champion opened the tournament with a 6–3, 6–2, 6–4 win over South Korea’s Chung Hyeon on Monday.
After the release of the report, tennis officials denied deliberately suppressing evidence of match fixing.
- Erin Flynn