Tennis match-fixing: Andy Murray says youngsters must be warned

Andy Murray: Tennis must act on match-fixing claims

Andy Murray says tennis needs to do "a better job" of warning young players about the perils of match-fixing.

The British number one was responding to BBC and BuzzFeed News revelations about suspected illegal betting in tennis over the past decade.

World number one Novak Djokovic has revealed he was offered £110,000 to fix a match early in his career.

Murray, 28, said: "When people come with those sums of money when you are that age, people can make mistakes."

Djokovic said he was approached to lose a first-round match at the St Petersburg Open in 2007, adding that the offer, which was not made directly to the Serb, was dismissed immediately.

Speaking in Melbourne following his first-round win at the Australian Open, Murray said tennis authorities needed to be on the front foot on the issue of match-fixing.

"You have to be proactive with things like this and go and speak to the players rather than them reading about it in the newspapers or listening to it on the TV or the radio," the Scot said.

"I think the more proactive you are with educating young players, the better on matters like this."

He said players should learn about the dangers of match-fixing from the age of 15 and they should also be warned that a bad decision "can affect your career, can affect the whole sport".

Murray also said that:

  • He has never been approached to fix games or matches
  • Tennis and all sport needs to be more transparent
  • Tennis is "a little bit hypocritical" to allow betting companies to sponsor tournaments
  • He is surprised at the number of matches that were flagged as potentially dubious
  • He is not surprised that Grand Slam winners and players in the top 50 have come under scrutiny

"If there is corruption in any sport, you want to hear about it," said the world number two after his straight-sets win over Alexander Zverev.

"As a player, you just want to be made aware of everything that's going on. I think we deserve to know everything that's sort of out there.

"Some of it will be true, some of it might not be true, but I'm always very curious with that stuff, across really all sports as well.

"I think sports could in general be much, much more transparent."

Murray also said tennis was sending mixed messages by allowing betting company William Hill to become one of the Australian Open's sponsor's this year and advertise on the tournament's three main show courts.

For the first time at Melbourne Park, electronic advertising boards at Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena display the name 'William Hill' during breaks in play.

"I'm not really pro that," said Murray, a four-time finalist in Melbourne.

"I think it's a little bit hypocritical, because I don't believe the players are allowed to be sponsored by betting companies, but the tournaments are.

"I don't really understand how it all works. I think it's a bit strange."

Djokovic has also called the decision to allow a betting company to sponsor the Australian Open "borderline".

The BBC and BuzzFeed News obtained secret files that contained evidence of suspected match-fixing in tennis.

Tennis match-fixing: Djokovic, Federer & others give their views on allegations

Those files indicate that, over the past decade, 16 players who have been ranked in the world's top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they have thrown matches.

All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.

However, tennis officials have rejected suggestions they have been lax on the issue of match-fixing.

They also criticised the timing of the BBC and BuzzFeed News report, published just before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Djokovic does not think match-fixing is prevalent at the top level of tennis and says there is "no real proof" of fixing among the elite.

"It's just speculation," said the 10-time Grand Slam champion.

Roger Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, said it was difficult to gauge if and to what level fixing went on, adding he wanted more information about who might be guilty.

"I would love to hear names,'' said the former world number one. "Then at least it's concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it.

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