Djokovic happy with state of tennis amid match-fixing scandal


World number one and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic does not believe a shadow has been cast over tennis following match-fixing allegations.

Day one of the Australian Open on Monday has been dominated by claims of corruption, after a joint investigation led by BuzzFeed News and the BBC alleged tennis authorities failed to act upon repeated warnings regarding match-fixing involving a number of players on the professional circuit.

According to the report, a US Open champion and doubles winners at Wimbledon were among a group of 16 players who had been reported for losing when highly suspicious bets have been placed against them, though the ATP denied the claims.

Despite the allegations, Djokovic, who was offered money to throw a match in 2007, said he is happy with the state of the sport.

"Honestly I've heard about the story and I read that there were a couple of players mentioned who are not active anymore, talking about the matches that have happened almost 10 years ago," the Serb told reporters after his 6-3 6-2 6-4 first-round victory over Hyeon Chung.

"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.

"I don't think the shadow is cast over our sport. In contrary, people are talking about names, guessing who these players are, guessing those names. But there's no real proof or evidence yet of any active players, for that matter. As long as it's like that, it's just speculation. So I think we have to keep it that way."

Pressed on the presence of global betting companies as main sponsors at grand slams and whether he felt uncomfortable, Djokovic added: "I think, today and in the future. It's a fine line. Honestly it's on a borderline, I would say.

"Whether you want to, you know, have betting companies involved in the big tournaments in our sport or not, you know, it's hard to say what's right and what's wrong.

"One of the reasons why tennis is a popular and clean sport is because it has always valued its integrity. 

"I think especially in the grand slams that are and always have been the most valued and respected and known tennis tournaments around the world throughout the history of this sport.

"You know, I know that there are also many betting companies that on the websites are using the names, the brands, images of tournaments and players and matches in order to profit from that. Tennis hasn't been really getting the piece of that cake, if you know what I mean.

"It's hard to say. I don't have yet the stand and clear opinion about that. I think it is a subject of discussion."