New Delhi: The tennis world was rocked by allegations of match fixing on Sunday after the BBC and online BuzzFeed News made secret files public on Day 1 of the year's first major.
The report suggests match-fixing exists higher up the food chain, including at Wimbledon, and could involve players currently competing at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The report did not present any evidence of match-rigging. However, it said 16 players who had been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the TIU over suspicions that they had thrown matches in the past decade, but that none had been suspended, let alone banned.
Here is what the current superstars, assembled in Melbourne, had to say about the allegations that could severely damage the sport's credibility.
Maria Sharapova: I mean, to me the sport itself has always meant a lot more than money. 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. There's playing in front of thousands of people, playing you against somebody across the net and you trying to win that match.
Roger Federer: I would love to hear names. Then at least it's concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which slam?
Novak Djokovic: I don’t think a shadow is cast over our sport. People are talking about names, guessing who these players are. But there’s no real proof or evidence yet of any active players, for that matter. As long as it’s like that, it’s just speculation.
Serena Williams: Yeah, I just heard about it today, just as a warning that I might be asked about it. But that's literally all I have heard about it. Not that I'm aware of. When I'm playing, I can only answer for me, I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard.
I think that, you know, we go --you know, as an athlete, I do everything I can to be not only great, but, you know, historic. You know, if that's going on, I don't know about it. You know, I'm kind of sometimes in a little bit of a bubble.
(With Agency inputs)