- Novak Djokovic’s team were approached about a first-round match
- World No 1 insists ‘it didn’t even get to me directly’
- His comments follow allegations of widespread match-fixing in tennis
- Djokovic claims ‘there is nothing happening on the top level’
- But he admits it may be a problem in Challenger tournaments
Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he was once indirectly offered around £100,000 to throw a first-round match at a tournament in Russia.
The approach came for him to lose in the St Petersburg Open, although he never ended up playing in the event.
Djokovic, through to the second round of the Australian Open, was answering questions about allegations relating to match-fixing in tennis.
‘I was not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team,’ he said.
‘Of course, we threw it away 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.
‘Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talk, some people were going around. They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar.
‘It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this kind of opportunity. For me, that’s a crime in sport honestly. I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.
‘I always have been taught and have been surrounded with people that had nurtured and respected the sport’s values. That’s the way I’ve grown up. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to get directly involved in these particular situations.’
Djokovic maintains that most of the allegations belong to the past and do not involve top players.
‘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. Challenger level, those tournaments, maybe, maybe not.
‘But I’m not entitled to really talk about it. I can give my opinion. But there is an organisation, authorities, people who take care of that on a daily basis and make sure to track it down.
‘It’s always a choice for a tennis player, an athlete or any person in life. You always have a choice, especially for somebody who is on the tennis court, whether or not you’re going to accept something that is going against everything that the sport stands for.
‘I would always make the right choice. But I can only speak on my own behalf.’