Saturday 24 February 2018

'I've never been approached by someone to deliberately lose a game' - James McGee

Ireland's top tennis player James McGee. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Ireland's top tennis player James McGee. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Cathal Dennehy

Ireland's top tennis player says that in eight years as a professional, he has "never been approached by someone to lose a match", despite reports this week alleging the practice is widespread.

James McGee, who is ranked 198th in the world, believes match-fixing is more of an issue at the lower tiers of the game, where players struggling for income are proving easy targets for corruption.

"I really don't believe it's widespread," he said. "It's terrible if it's happening, but I myself have been unaware of it. I'm also close with a lot of players in the top 100. From the people I know, it would be shocking to think they would lose a match on purpose."

McGee spoke to the Irish Independent from Melbourne, where he narrowly missed out on qualification for the Australian Open, which began earlier this week.

"They said 16 players (who have been ranked) in the top 50 and a grand slam winner (were suspected of match-fixing), and I was very surprised at that," he said.

"Most guys at the top certainly don't need the money. If there was talk [on the circuit], it was more about it being at the lower level of the tour. The players that can't make the top 100 scrape by week to week, spending pennies and making pennies. It really is a very, very difficult sport when you're not at the top."

Irish Independent

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