Djokovic and Williams Say 'No Proof' Of Match Fixing As Tennis Authorities Reject Report

18/01/2016 1:09 PM AEDT | Updated January 18, 2016 20:51
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Tennis authorities have strongly denied suppressing evidence of match fixing after an explosive report implicated a "core group of 16 players" in a global betting scandal.

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Executive Chairman Chris Kermode on Monday said all information regarding the alleged corruption of top players would be assessed in light of a joint investigation by BBC and Buzzfeed News.

The report, based on months of analysis and leaked documents claimed that players ranked in the top 50, including Grand Slam winners, had been flagged to tennis authorities but not sanctioned in connection with suspicious betting activity.

Kermode flatly rejected that tennis authorities were turning a blind eye.

"The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn't being investigated," Kermode told media at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

"We will investigate any new information.

"The Tennis Integrity Unit has to find evidence -- as opposed to information, suspicion or hearsay."

Tennis royalty Novac Djokovic and Serena Williams also weighed in on the report after their first-round victories on Monday, dismissing claims match-fixing was rife.

"I don't think the shadow is cast over our sport," Djokovic told reporters.

"There's no real proof or evidence yet of any active players ... as long as it's like that, it's just speculation."

Williams admitted to not being well-versed on the report but said she had never witnessed such corruption.

Nigel Willerton from the Integrity Unit declined to comment on whether any players taking part in the Australian Open were currently being monitored for links to corruption.

The BBC and Buzzfeed report claimed the bookmakers had flagged suspicious activity with authorities on dozens of occasions.

Kermode said that he felt comfortable with the relationship between tennis and betting companies, as it was in the interests of all parties to weed out corruption.

"All of us in tennis are absolutely committed to stamp out any form of corruption," he added.

"There is a zero-tolerance policy on this, we are not complacent, we are very vigilant.

"I don't think (betting companies are) an issue and I think it can help at times. The Integrity Unit is working with betting companies all the times to investigate corruption. Betting and corruption are different. The more we can work with them... they are as strong as we are on getting rid of corruption."

The investigative report quoted sources describing the TIG, which was established in 2008 and has received $14 million in funding, as "very disappointing" and "far too secretive".

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