Yana Sizikova was arrested Thursday after allegedly fixing a tennis match during the 2020 French Open. The 26-year-old tennis player was taken into custody at this year’s French Open tournament, having been accused of bribery, sports corruption, and fraud.
The allegations come after a nine-month-long investigation into last year’s tournament, in which the double’s specialist reportedly threw a match in an attempt to win big money for tennis gamblers. The probe uncovered that the Russian player, currently ranked 101st in doubles and 765th in singles, had fixed an unidentified match at the lower levels of professional tennis, which was played during the French Open last September.
The match in question was played at Roland Garros, a two-week tournament in Paris, France. The match was originally scheduled for May of last year but was rescheduled to September due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The exact match has not been revealed by the prosecutor’s office, however, one German newspaper, Die Welt, reported that suspicions surrounded the first round of a women’s doubles match on September 30, played by Yana Sizikova and her doubles partner.
Sizikova and her U.S. partner, Madison Brengle, played on Court No. 10 against Andreea Mity and Patricia Maria Tig, both Romanian players. Yana Sizikova is accused of throwing the game, having double-faulted twice in the second set.
It was later reported that hundreds of thousands of euros were on the line, with many bets wagered on a break of serve during the second set, which Sizikova seemed to oblige. There were also thousands of euros bet on the Romanian pair’s eventual victory.
Yana Sizikova has since been arrested on charges of “sports bribery and organized fraud,” according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. The tennis player was taken into custody after her massage session which proceeded her first-round match Thursday. She had played alongside Yekaterina Alexandrova, but lost against the Australian team comprised of Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomjanovic.
Police then searched Sizikova’s hotel room, but no information on their findings has been released. The tennis player is being held for questioning and bail has not been set. The investigation continues, though no other suspects have been identified.
Tennis fixing is a real problem, especially in the lower levels of play, since players of that caliber don’t make enough to support their lifestyles. Lifetime bans have been placed on several tennis players, and Yana Sizikova will likely be permanently removed from the sport if she is proven guilty.
It is not clear what other penalties or potential punishments she faces, but the organization may fine Sizikova, in addition to her potential lifetime ban, as had happened with previous guilty charges.