Roger Federer has heard enough speculation about match-fixing in tennis. If players are suspected of corruption, he wants names. Federer was responding to reports by BBC and BuzzFeed News published on Monday that tennis authorities have suppressed evidence of match-fixing and overlooked suspected cases involving players ranked in the top 50, including Grand Slam singles and doubles winners.
The reports said that none of these players had faced sanctions and more than half would be playing at this year’s Australian Open, which started Monday. The players weren’t identified by name.
“I would love to hear names,” Federer said. “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 super serious and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport,” Federer added. “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.
Novak reveals approach
World number one Novak Djokovic played down the report but said he was approached to fix a match earlier in his career.
Djokovic said he was targeted in 2007 to throw a first-round match at St Petersburg.
“I was not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.