Novak Djokovic insists tennis is clean

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Tennis is clean: Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic insists tennis remains a clean sport after he claimed there’s no proof of doping.

Djokovic was asked on the red carpet the Laureus Awards in Berlin to discuss Andy Murray’s comments that he has sometimes been “suspicious” of opponents and that the sport needs more transparency in terms of its doping controls.

On the same day his coach Boris Becker slammed Murray’s claims, the Serbian world No. 1 also disagreed with the Briton’s assessment.

“Of course there’s some speculation and some rumours,” Djokovic told CNN. “The media is trying to create the stories and so forth. As long as there is no proof that somebody is doping, the sport is clean. I am actually proud of the integrity of our sport.”

Maria Sharapova failed a test for meldonium at the Australian Open in January and is currently serving a provisional ban until a permanent one is imposed.

In 2013, Croat Marin Cilic withdrew from Wimbledon with an injury only for it later to emerge he failed a test for nikethamide. While in November last year, Roger Federer called for more stringent testing.

The doping spotlight has fallen on tennis the same year match-fixing claims have also beset the sport.

Djokovic, named Sportsman of the Year at the Laureus Awards for which IWC Schaffhausen are a global partner, added: “It’s tricky for tennis, there’s many stories that go round, betting, doping, it seems the weight has come down on tennis.

“But I think it all comes down to anti-doping agencies, governing bodies, need to come out with proof. If they don’t it’s only rumour.”

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Serena and Novak the big winners at 2016 Laureus Awards

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Big winner: Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams on Monday night celebrated a record-equalling fourth Laureus World Sports Award.

And on a great night for tennis, Novak Djokovic was honoured with the Laureus World Sportsman Award for the second straight year and for the third time in his career.

Williams, the world’s top women’s tennis player, was named Sportswoman of the Year again, after a sparkling 2015 in which she won three Grand Slams.

Laureus Academy Member Boris Becker, now Djokovic’s coach, said: “He had a great year again. He’s played 88 matches, has won 82, He won three out of the four Grand Slams, reached the final of the French Open, he’s won seven other tournaments.”

There was a special posthumous Laureus Spirit of Sport Award to celebrate the life of Johan Cruyff, who died in March. It was received by his son Jordi.

On a glittering evening in Berlin that recognised the outstanding sporting achievements of 2015, rugby was the other big winner with the All Blacks taking the Laureus Team Award and Dan Carter receiving the Laureus Comeback of the Year Award, following the team’s Rugby World Cup success.

Carter said: “It’s nice to be recognised for the year I had in 2015. It was a very special year, not only for me, but also for the All Blacks and to be a part of that was amazing.”

To the delight of the Berlin audience, Germany’s Jan Frodeno, the first man to win both the Ironman World Championship and an Olympic triathlon gold medal, was presented with the Laureus Action Sports Award, while golfer Jordan Spieth won the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award.

** IWC Schaffhausen is the global partner of the Laureus Awards, for more information visit www.iwc.com**

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Rafa Nadal defeats Gael Monfils to win ninth Monte Carlo title

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Rafa Nadal.

Nadal shared two tightly competitive sets with his opponent before turning on the style in the decider for a 7-5 5-7 6-0 win for his first tour title of the year.

The Spaniard’s win also ensures he matches world number one Novak Djokovic by winning his 28th career Masters title.

Victory capped a stunning week for Nadal, who has struggled for form since taking seven months out because of a knee injury, and withdrew from last month’s Miami Open due to a virus.

An exhilarating first set highlighted by a series of lung-bursting rallies saw both men swap two breaks apiece before Nadal struck again to edge in front.

Nadal twice dragged himself back from a break down in the second before Monfils somehow summoned the energy to break his opponent for a third time to serve out to level the scores.

But hopes of a fitting climax were shattered in the second game of the decider when a clearly ailing Monfils sent down two consecutive double-faults to give Nadal the early break.

And showing few ill effects from his recent periods of inactivity, Nadal stepped up to power his way to victory and send a message to his opponents that he is on the road to recovery.

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