LONDON (Reuters) – Spanish tennis player Feliciano Lopez has denied any involvement in match-fixing after his name was mentioned in a media report concerning a doubles match with fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez which took place at Wimbledon in 2017.
Lopez, 37, beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday to progress to the second round at Queen’s, where on Thursday he is due to partner Andy Murray as the twice Wimbledon champion makes his return after a long injury lay-off.
“After stories mentioning my name and my partner Marc Lopez, I feel it is very important to deny any link with events related to the fixing of matches,” Lopez told a news conference at the Queen’s Club Championships on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, tennis players, as they are public figures, are used to having their names being used without their control. Therefore, I will do everything in my power to defend myself against any accusation of this type.”
The report Lopez referred to appeared in Spanish digital newspaper El Confidencial on the ongoing ‘Operation Oikos’ investigation into match-fixing in Spanish football which led to 11 players and officials being arrested last month.
He said he and Marc Lopez had made contact with the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) about the match cited in media reports, a second round defeat by Matt Reid and John Patrick Smith, and was told the match was not under investigation.
Lopez added that he went into that game in question struggling with a foot injury which had forced him to retire during his first round match against Adrian Mannarino.
“I played against Mannarino and I withdrew. We tried to play doubles and give the best of ourselves but we lost. That’s all,” he said.
“We have faith in the TIU and the role they play to protect our sport. I have always believed in the values of fair play.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)