Organisers of the St Petersburg Open have denied any involvement in match fixing ©Getty Images

Organisers of the St. Petersburg Open in 2007 have denied any involvement in match-fixing following men’s world number one Novak Djokovic claiming he had been offered $200,000 (£140,000/€184,000) to throw his first round tie at the tournament.

The Serbian, a 10-time Grand Slam winner, had claimed that his team had been approached ahead of the competition in the Russian city, which he eventually did not participate in.

Djokovic made the statement following his first round victory yesterday at the Australian Open and asserted that the proposal had been immediately dismissed by his team and that he was not approached personally.

Alexander Medvedev, director general of the St. Petersburg Open, has claimed the organisers have had not played any part in any instances of match fixing.

"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 told the Russian news agency 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.”

Novak Djokovic claimed his team had been approached about match fixing before the 2007 St Petersburg Open ©Getty Images
Novak Djokovic claimed his team had been approached about match fixing before the 2007 St Petersburg Open ©Getty Images

Concerns regarding match-fixing in the sport had been raised on the eve of the Australian Open following a joint investigation between Buzzfeed News and BBC News claimed that 16 players, ranked in the top 50 in the world across the past decade, have been repeatedly flagged as having potentially thrown matches.

They alleged that the players were allowed to continue competing, despite suspicions having been reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), joint initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP World Tour and the Women's Tennis Association.

The investigation, which focuses on men’s tennis, is centred on leaked documents from the sport while analysis of betting activity on 26,000 matches has been carried out.

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chief Chris Kermode, yesterday, rejected suggestions that tennis authorities had failed to act on match fixing.

Suspicious betting activity related to a game between Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko and Argentina’s Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot in 2007, was deemed key to the investigation.

Although both players being cleared, an inquiry subsequent analysis  flagged matches involving 28 players flagged to the authorities as requiring investigation.

President of Russia’s Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpishchev, has played down concerns of match fixing in tennis, dismissing the allegations as rumours.

“Perhaps, there are such matches but there have never been any specific data on them, this cannot be ruled out but I have not heard that someone has been caught and something has been proved,” he said.

“We can only argue about this but in real fact leading players have never had such matches, if something had been proved, someone would have been disqualified long ago.”

Maria Sharapova expressed her hope that match fixing is not rife in the sport
Maria Sharapova expressed her hope that match fixing is not rife in the sport ©Getty Images

While the investigation into match fixing in the men’s sport, women’s world number four Maria Sharapova expressed her hope that the practice is not rife within the tennis.

“I mean, to me the sport itself has always meant a lot more than money," she said. 

“I know that the more successful you are and the more matches you win, the more prize money, the more money you will receive, but ultimately that's never been my personal driving factor in the sport.

“There's just so much more on the line, there's the competitiveness, there's the challenge of being better.”