Tennis authorities are denying claims that they have suppressed or overlooked evidence of suspected match-fixing among top players.
On Sunday, one day before the start of the Australian Open, BuzzFeed News and the BBC published a joint report describing leaked documents that allege a group of about 16 players have continued to compete without sanctions despite repeated warnings about corruption to the sport’s governing bodies from bookmakers, police and gambling authorities. No athletes were named in the story.
“The Tennis Integrity Unit and tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated,” Chris Kermode, head of the Association of Professional Tennis Players, said at a news conference Monday, the AP reports. He added that the sport’s anti-corruption body, the Tennis Integrity Unit, investigates every claim, including “lots of anecdotal reports,” but only takes action when there is "evidence that we can use."
Top-ranked player Novak Djokovic, who said his team rejected an offer in the mid-2000s to throw a game in Russia, for now has dismissed the report as “just speculation."
“We have, I think, a sport [that has] evolved and upgraded our programs and authorities to deal with these particular cases,” he said. “There’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players [taking part in match-fixing], for that matter. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.”