Andy Murray has said he feels sorry for innocent players being accused of match-fixing but believes more accountability is the only way to root out corruption.
World number one Novak Djokovic was forced to answer questions on the issue on Wednesday after Italian newspaper Tuttosport alleged he had voluntarily lost a match to Fabrice Santoro at the 2007 Paris Masters.
And the retiring Lleyton Hewitt, after his final match at the Australian Open, also voiced his anger after an online blog Show Legend linked the 34-year-old to the BBC and Buzzfeed’s match-fixing investigation.
Djokovic labelled the allegations as “absurd” while Hewitt said they were a “joke” and made “the whole thing an absolute farce”.
Murray has called for greater transparency among tennis’ governing bodies and better education for young players, but the Scot admitted he felt sympathy for players coming under pressure.
“I think for anyone who is innocent, whose name gets talked about with that stuff, then you feel sorry for them if they have done nothing wrong,” Murray told national newspapers.
“Especially during an event like this, it’s very distracting. But you also want to be competing in a clean sport as well.
“So sometimes asking questions, and the players being open about it and responding to it, and the people who are high up in the game talking about it, is also a good thing.”
The controversy has overshadowed the first week of the Australian Open ever since the BBC and Buzzfeed’s investigation was reported on the eve of the tournament.
It claimed 16 players, all of whom have ranked in the world’s top 50, were repeatedly flagged up to the sport’s authorities over suspicion of match-fixing but no further action was taken.
“Obviously, the story is not good for the image of the sport but from a players’ point of view, I don’t think everyone is being tarred with the same brush,” Murray told Australian newspaper The Age.
“It’s not like everyone thinks we are all cheating. I feel comfortable with myself so that’s not something I’m worried about.”
Murray added: “I haven’t personally played a match where I’ve thought something was up. And I haven’t really watched a live match and thought ’this is being fixed’.
“I would actually like to know if there was any match that I was involved in that had any irregular betting patterns around it or anything like that.”
Dave Sammel, the coach of two British players on the Futures circuit, the lowest level of professional tennis, said his pupils had both been approached to throw matches.
The two players, Richard Gabb and Scott Clayton, were confronted at a tournament in Turkey two years ago by Russian player Andrey Kumantsov.
The pair rejected the approach and immediately reported it to the authorities, who were already investigating Kumantsov and subsequently banned him from the sport for life.
Sammel told Press Association Sport: ”There was a Russian player who approached two of my guys.
”He had been approaching other players. He was doing it in Turkey and then he did it at a Futures in England, and he got done for it. I told them they needed to report it immediately.
”I do know when they’ve been at Futures in Turkey that they’ve been approached to throw matches or sets.
“But that’s all at Futures level. I’ve never heard of anything directly at Challenger or Tour level.”