St. Petersburg (Russia), Jan 19 (IANS) The organisers of the 2007 St. Petersburg Open tennis tournament had nothing to do with the alleged instances of match fixing, Alexander Medvedev, the director general of the tournament’s organising company, has said. Serbian tennis star and World No.1 Novak Djokovic said on Monday that he was asked to purposely lose one of his matches in the 2007 ATP tournament in St. Petersburg, reports TASS.
Djokovic stressed that it was his team and not him personally who received the offer on the fix-up, which he declined. “Even if such case did take place within the frames of the tournament in St. Petersburg, it does not mean that the organisers were involved,” Medvedev said on Monday. “Bookmakers have been long active on Internet. Knowing Djokovic, I understand why he declined and, on the whole, I cannot even imagine who would make him such offer,” he added. A group of unknown people offered Djokovic $220,000 for deliberately losing the first round match of the tournament.
The BBC and Buzzfeed news reported on Monday that over the last decade players, who had been ranked among the world’s top 50, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were involved in match-fixing. The documents obtained by the BBC “show the enquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon.” The investigation examined suspicious betting activity after a game involving Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo.
Both players were cleared of violating any rules but the investigation developed into a much wider enquiry looking into a web of gamblers linked to top-level players, according to the BBC. The sole tennis players caught in match-fixing are Daniel Kollerer from Austria and Alexandros Jakupovic from Greece. The Austrian has become the first tennis player banned for life for attempting to fix at least three matches between October 2009 and July 2010. In late November 2011, Kollerer applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge the decision made by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
However, the appeal was rejected in March 2012. Jakupovic was banned for life in mid-December 2015 on five counts related to match-fixing. Kollerer ranked 55th in the world in October 2009 while Jakupovic’s best result was the 464th position in 2009.