Sports

Djokovic denies losing 2007 match on purpose

Novak Djokovic has denied an Italian media report he deliberately lost a match in 2007 that has been linked to a wider scandal involving alleged corruption in tennis.

The 28-year-old world No. 1, who easily beat French teenager Quentin Halys 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in 1hr 40min at the Rod Laver Arena yesterday to advance to the Australian Open third round, was asked about a report in Italian newspaper Tuttosport that he had deliberately lost to now-retired French player Fabrice Santoro at the Paris Masters.

"It's not true," the Serb said with a shrug and shake of his head.

"What it is to say? I've lost that match.

"Anybody can create a story about that match or, for that matter, any of the matches of the top players losing in the early rounds, I think it's just absurd.

"You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it."

SHADOW

The opening days of the Australian Open have been overshadowed by revelations in a report by the BBC and online BuzzFeed News that 16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they had thrown matches in the past decade.

The sport's authorities on Monday issued a joint statement rejecting the allegations.

Australian Open champion Djokovic was asked about the media reports on Monday, saying that he had indirectly been offered US$200,000 ($287,000) to throw a match while still a teenager.

The offer was immediately rejected by the person it had been made to, he said.

Djokovic added yesterday that he had said all he wanted to about the corruption allegations and refused to discuss further, except to add that he was disappointed the sport was faced with questions about integrity.

"You don't want these kind of subjects or speculations going around," he said.

- Reuters.

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