2016 Australian Open

I defeated Novak 'fair and square'

LONDON • Fabrice Santoro yesterday laughed off a suggestion that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic deliberately lost to him at the Paris Masters in 2007.

The retired French player spoke out after an Italian newspaper said Djokovic could have thrown the second-round match 6-3, 6-2.

"I was never the best player in the world but I'd beaten 19 of the 23 best players in the world, and a week before I'd beaten American Andy Roddick, who was world No. 5," Santoro, who was ranked No. 39 at the time, told BeIN Sports television.

While Djokovic "had undoubtedly not played the match of his life", Santoro, 43, refuted the suggestion that the Serb had been involved in match-fixing.

"One has to be careful, you can't just write any old thing, you have to have proof," Santoro, now a commentator, said.

Djokovic on Wednesday called the corruption claim "absurd".

The spectre of match-fixing has overshadowed the Australian Open since Monday, when the BBC and BuzzFeed News claimed that 16 top players had repeatedly been suspected of involvement in fixed matches but never faced action.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'I defeated Novak 'fair and square''. Print Edition | Subscribe