Tennis wasn’t a sport that in the popular imagination was associated with such cheating. That has now come into question
Countless faiths shattered when former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje admitted his role in match fixing and soon after some favourite Indian cricketers too were forced off the pitch. International club football regularly sees its share of matchfixing scandals. But tennis wasn’t a sport that in the popular imagination was associated with such cheating. That has now come into question.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic recently revealed that he had been approached to deliberately lose a tennis match early on in his career and offered £110,000 for doing this. He refers to a 2007 incident, when, he says, “I was approached through people… working with me at that time. Of course, we [rejected ] it right away.” His statement came in the wake of a BBC-Buzzfeed joint investigation that claimed to have access to ‘secret files’ that contain evidence of widespread matchfixing, and at the highest level of tennis—including the most prestigious tournament: Wimbledon. Their report said, ‘The sport’s governing bodies have been warned repeatedly about a core group of 16 players—all of whom have ranked in the top 50—but none have faced any sanctions and more than half of them will begin playing at the Australian Open on Monday. It has been seven years since world tennis authorities were first handed compelling evidence about a network of players suspected of fixing matches at major tournaments including Wimbledon following a landmark investigation, but all of them have been allowed to continue playing.’
While Djokovic also said that he doesn’t think that match fixing exists at the highest levels, Roger Federer ruled out ever being able to eliminate it completely. Chris Kermode, head of Association of Tennis Professionals, has dismissed the claims, adding though that the ATP would investigate any new information.