World number one Novak Djokovic insists he has not been distracted at the Australian Open by allegations he deliberately lost a match in 2007.
Djokovic is bidding to win a sixth title this year in Melbourne and he improved his chances yesterday by beating Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-1 7-5 7-6 (8/6) to reach the fourth round.
In the build-up to the match, however, Djokovic was forced to answer questions relating to claims made by an Italian newspaper on Wednesday that he had “wanted” to lose against France’s Fabrice Santoro at the Paris Masters nine years ago.
Djokovic described the allegations as “not true” and “absurd”.
Asked if he had found preparing for his match against Seppi difficult, Djokovic said: “Honestly I’ve had quite a few press conferences in my life. I understand how I need to carry myself.
“Obviously this subject of conversation, I would say speculation, has come up, and it’s not a regular, I would say, subject of press conferences.
“But, you know, it is what it is and we expected it. When we heard the story would come out, we all expected questions from you guys.
Djokovic was also left confused after a tribute he made to the retiring Lleyton Hewitt was cut from a video shown after the Australian’s final match on Thursday night.
The video included tributes from Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios – but Djokovic’s did not appear.
“I have no comment. I don’t know,” Djokovic said. “I’ve done it, but it wasn’t there. I don’t know. I guess we have to ask them.” Tennis Australia claimed the omission had been due to a production error.
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