Venus: Corruption not a big problem in tennis

American ace Venus Williams said she did not think corruption was a big problem in tennis, as she limbered up in Hong Kong for the Australian Open.

“No. I don’t think it is a big thing for tennis, to be honest,” she told reporters, when asked whether she had seen any evidence of match-fixing.

“I think we are OK, I don’t see it as a problem. I don’t think about it per se,” added the 27-year-old, ahead of her opening match against Chinese star Peng Shuai in the JB Group Classic.

Rumours of match-fixing and concerns over unusual betting patterns and betting by players have dogged the sport for some time.

On Monday, tennis legend Martina Navratilova backed efforts to rid tennis of corruption but conceded that match-fixing was hard to prove.

Williams, the current Wimbledon champion, added she would be tussling with her sister Serena for the number one spot during 2008.

“I definitely want to return to number one,” she said when asked about her sister’s aim to head the rankings this year.

Venus Williams, currently ranked eight in the world, said she would also be focusing on the Beijing Olympics in an effort to regain both the singles and doubles titles she won in Sydney in 2000.

“Sydney was too exciting.
Definitely the highlight of my career and just beyond my dreams,” she said.

“Serena and I are already preparing to play in the doubles. We are going to play in Australia and we are going to play a lot more together,” she added.

The annual Hong Kong invitational tournament this year has attracted five of the world’s top 10 players, including Russian Maria Sharapova, who triumphed in the opening game of the four-day tournament on Wednesday.

Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic also insisted on Tuesday the women’s game is clean as the world’s elite players gear up for the first Grand Slam of the year.—Sapa-AFP

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