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ST. PETERSBURG, January 18. /TASS/. Organizers of the 2007 St. Petersburg Open tennis tournament had nothing to do with the alleged instances of fix-up matches, Alexander Medvedev, the director general of the tournament’s organizing company, told TASS on Monday.
AFP news agency reported earlier in the day citing Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic as saying that his team was offered to talk him into losing on purpose one of his matches at the 2007 ATP tournament in St. Petersburg. World’s No. 1 Djokovic stressed that it was his team and not him personally receiving the offer on the fix-up, which he naturally declined.
"Even if such case did take place within the frames of the tournament in St. Petersburg, it does not mean that the organizers were involved," Medvedev said in an interview with TASS. "Bookmakers have been long active in Internet."
"Knowing Djokovic I understand why he declined and, on the whole, I cannot even imagine who would make him such offer," Medvedev added.
Britain’s tabloid The Sun reported in 2007 citing an anonymous source in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) that a group of unknown people offered Djokovic at that time $220,000 for losing on purpose in the first round match of the 2007 St. Petersburg Open tennis tournament.
The Sun reported at that time that Djokovic declined and the organizers of the tournament in Russia’s second largest city were not involved in the alleged fix-up offer.
The BBC reported earlier 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 by now 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 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 ATP rating in October 2009 while Jakupovic’s best result was the 464th position in the ATP rating in 2009.