WORLD No.1 Novak Djokovic has revealed he was indirectly approached with a $ US200,000 offer to throw a match in 2007.
The revelation came after bombshell allegations over betting-related corruption rocked the first day of the Australian Open.
Djokovic said he was shocked by the offer, admitting “it made me feel terrible.”
“I was not approached directly,” he said.
‘I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team.
“Of course, we threw it away right away.
“It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.”
Roger Federer said last night match fixing must be stamped out to protect the future of the game, but believes many of the allegations are “farfetched”.
“Clearly you got to take it super serious,” Federer said.
“It’s a bit farfetched, all these things.
“Clearly for a few years now we know this is very serious and we’ve got to do everything about it to keep the sport clean.
“It’s vital, there’s no doubt about it.
“We need to make sure the integrity of the game is always maintained because without that, I always would say, why do you come and watch this match tonight or any match, because you just don’t know the outcome.
“As long as we don’t know the outcome, the players, fans, it’s going to be exciting.
“The moment that gets taken away, there’s no point anymore to be in the stadium.”
Djokovic did not play the St Petersburg tournament, where he was supposed to deliberately lose, but was troubled by the offer.
“It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this,” he said.
“Somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, that’s an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport honestly.
“I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.
“I always have been taught and have been surrounded with people that had nurtured and respected the sport’s values.
“That’s the way I’ve grown up. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to get directly involved in these particular situations.”
Djokovic’s comments came as Croat Marin Cilic denied he is the grand slam champion referred to in the joint report into tennis corruption by the BBC and Buzzfeed.
LISTEN BELOW AS LEO SCHLINK AND LAUREN WOOD DISCUSS THE MATCH FIXING SCANDAL, RECAP DAY 1 AND LOOK AHEAD TO A MASSIVE DAY 2
Djokovic said he was aware of rumours about match fixing in 2007.
“Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talks, some people were going around,” he said.
“They were dealt with. In the last six, seven years, I haven’t heard anything similar.
“I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that.”
Djokovic rejected suggestions the Open would be clouded by the reports, which were condemned by tennis authorities.
“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,” Djokovic said.
“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.”
Djokovic said he was confident corruption was not an issue at the highest level of the sport despite the Tennis Integrity Unit’s successful prosecution of 18 people since it was formed in 2008.
“From my knowledge and information about, the match fixing or anything similar, there is nothing happening on the top level, as far as I know,” he said.
“Challenger level, those tournaments, maybe, maybe not.
“But I’m not entitled to really talk about it. I can give my opinion.
“But there is an organisation, authorities, people who take care of that on a daily basis and make sure to track it down.”