World No.1 Novak Djokovic has reacted angrily to an international newspaper report claiming he “wanted to lose” a match in 2007.
Italian sport newspaper Tuttosport made the front-page allegation on Wednesday, relating to a match at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
Djokovic, then ranked world No.3, lost the match 6-3 6-2 to French journeyman Fabrice Santoro after enduring surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.
The Serb, who disposed of French wildcard Quentin Halys 6-1 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to reach the last 32 at the Australian Open on Wednesday, denied the claim vigorously.
“It’s not true,” he said.
The claim comes days after a BBC-BuzzFeed News report said several top-tier men, including current players, were involved in match-fixing and tennis authorities have failed to clean up the sport or ban individuals involved.
Individuals and the ATP tour have denied the allegations.
Djokovic suggested the BBC-BuzzFeed News report had created a poisonous environment where allegations could be thrown around.
“This is now the main story in tennis, in (the) sports world, there’s going to be a lot of allegations,” he said.
“Anybody can create a story about any match.
“You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it.
“Until somebody comes out with the real proof and evidence (of match-fixing), it’s only speculation.”
On Monday, Djokovic said in 2007 a member of his entourage was approached to lose a match for over AU$200,000.
The offer was dismissed out of hand.
The five-time winner at Melbourne Park said he was saddened by the way match-fixing had taken hold of the agenda during the first grand slam of 2016.
“You don’t want these kind of subjects or speculations going around,” he said.
“I think that certain media is just trying to create a story out of it without any proof.”