Chris Kermode has rejected suggestions tennis authorities have failed to tackle match fixing ©Getty Images

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chief Chris Kermode has rejected suggestions that tennis authorities have failed to act on match fixing, after an investigation claimed to have secret files exposing the practice in the sport.

Among the allegations made by Buzzfeed News and BBC News are that 16 players have been repeatedly highlighted as having potentially thrown matches, with concerns reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).

Each of the players have been ranked in the top 50 in the world across the past decade and despite several of their matches being deemed suspicious, all have been allowed to continue competing.

The TIU is a 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 centered on leaked documents from the sport while analysis of betting activity on 26,000 matches has been carried out.

It stems from the ITU investigating suspicious betting activity related to a game between Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko and Argentina’s Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot in 2007.

Despite both players being cleared, the enquiry is claimed to have looked into the betting patterns of gamblers, linked to particular players, with matches involving 28 players flagged to the authorities as requiring investigation.

It followed evidence of betting syndicates in Russia and Italy, and tennis authorities have been accused of not following up on the findings.

According to the investigation, 16 players who have been flagged as having potentially fixed matches are competing at the Australian Open
According to the investigation, 16 players have repeatedly been flagged as having potentially fixed matches ©Getty Images

“Let me just say that all of us here in tennis are absolutely committed to stamp out any form of corrupt conduct in our sport," said Kermode, in a press conference ahead of the Australian Open.

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

“Whilst we are aware that all sport - not just tennis - is at potential risk of corruption, that is why, in 2008 the Tennis Integrity Unit was set up to actually tackle this issue head on.

“All professional players, support staff and officials are subject to the tennis anti-corruption programme.

“Tennis Integrity Unit anti-corruption investigations have resulted in 18 convictions, of which six have had life bans.”

Further accusations are that the names of 70 players have appeared on lists of suspected match fixers over the last decade without being sanctioned, while there are suggestions players have been targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments.

The investigation came on the eve of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, with one of the players in the top 50 having been accused of repeatedly fixing the first set of their matches.

Tournaments where the practice might have taken place include Wimbledon, it is claimed.

Both the BBC and Buzzfeed News have stated they will not name players involved as they claim that without access to their phone, bank and computer records, they will not be able to determine whether they have personally taken part in match fixing.

World number one Novak Djokovic revealed after is first round tie that his team had been approached about match fixing in 2007
World number one Novak Djokovic revealed after his first round Australian Open tie that his team had been approached about match fixing in 2007 ©Getty Images

Following his first round match at the Australian Open, defending champion Novak Djokovic revealed he had previously been approached to fix a first round match of a tournament in 2007.

The Serbian, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, was reportedly offered $200,000 (£140,000/€184,000) ahead of the competition in Saint Petersburg but stated the proposal was immediately dismissed.

“I was not approached directly, I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team,” said Djokovic.

“Of course, we threw it away right away, it didn't even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn't even get to me directly.

“There was nothing out of it.

“I don't think the shadow is cast over our sport.

"In contrary, people are talking about names, guessing who these players are, guessing those names.

“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.”