Murray plays down claims about corruption in tennis

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MADRID, Oct 15 (Reuters) Britain's Andy Murray sought to play down his comments that corruption was commonplace in tennis during the buildup to the Madrid Masters tournament yesterday.

''I don't think what I said is as big an issue as it's been made out to be,'' Murray told a news conference.

''It was taken out of context. I never said once that players fixed matches, and that players were involved directly in betting on matches.

''I did say that there was a lot of betting in tennis and everybody knows that betting within tennis is going on. Three or four of the players have said that they have been offered (money for) matches.

''I definitely said that that stuff goes on but whether the players are accepting the money or not... nobody's been guilty, but until they have, you don't know that tennis matches have been fixed.'' The Scot confirmed that he would be speaking to the ATP about his comments.

''I think they understand what's happened. I think I'm gonna meet with them on Tuesday and just have a chat about it. I've spoken to a couple of them and, you know, there's no problem,'' he said.

The governing bodies of tennis, the men's ATP Tour, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the WTA Tour and the Grand Slam Committee met on Friday to discuss the recent claims of corruption.

They said they were considering getting independent advice to analyse the threat from potential match-fixing.

''I think it's great that they are setting up an anti-corruption unit. The amount of money that's been bet on some matches is gotta make people take notice,'' Murray continued.

''As long as they have people at tournaments making sure nothing is going on, that's a good thing.

''Every single player wants to play in a clean sport and I think that what they are going to set up is definitely going to ensure that the players have that.'' The Madrid Masters gets underway today with top seed Roger Federer aiming to become the first player to make a successful defence of the title.

The world number one will face stiff opposition from home favourite Rafael Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

REUTERS TB AS0940

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