ESPN – MELBOURNE — Back in 2007, someone tried to offer Novak Djokovic roughly $200,000 to lose a first-round match at a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, he said Monday at the Australian Open.
Djokovic said he wasn’t approached directly. Instead, “I was approached through people that were working with me at that time,” he said, making clear that the offer was flat-out rejected. He didn’t even attend the tournament, but he said he still didn’t like the fact that someone even bothered to consider him for such a thing.
“It made me feel terrible because I don’t want to be anyhow linked to this kind of — you know, somebody may call it an opportunity,” he said. “For me, that’s an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport honestly. I don’t support it. I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.”
I know Novak is claiming he’s never thrown a match but until I see Pete Bell in his face I’m not sure I can believe that. But there’s two main reasons why nobody is paying attention to this story; 1. It’s tennis. Americans care less about tennis than they do college hockey. And 2. Everyone with a brain knows that tennis matches are always fixed. Tennis matches between unknowns and second tier soccer league games are fixed constantly. I’m actually all in on the conspiracy that The World Cup is fixed too but that’s a blog for a different day. But somebody trying to get Djokovic to take a dive is ballsy. I don’t care if this shit is fixed, I don’t bet on it (unless I can get in on the knowledge of who’s throwing the matches). But the problem is this gives ammo to all of the anti-sports betting people out there who are fighting to keep it illegal. Legalized sports betting is at a crossroads in 2016. We don’t need match fixing scandals involving tennis’ biggest stars breaking out as New Jersey’s getting ready to build sportsbooks. So luckily this is flying under the radar but if there’s any type of scandal involving something people care about (NFL/College football) we’re doomed.
Unrelated by related. There goes Djokovic running to the cash machine!!!!