Tennis-Russia’s Sizikova released from police custody after match-fixing allegations

French Open
A general view during a match at the French Open in Paris, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

June 4, 2021

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) -Russian player Yana Sizikova has been released from police custody a day after being arrested at the French Open over match-fixing allegations related to last year’s tournament, her lawyer said on Friday.

“She has been released, her custody has been lifted,” Frederic Belot told Reuters.

Earlier he said that Sizikova had been “taken into custody on the evening of Thursday 3 June 2021 after a match in the women’s doubles tournament.”

Last September, French prosecutors opened an investigation into fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption” over alleged match fixing in a women’s doubles match at the 2020 French Open.

The investigation related to a match between Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari and Sizikova and American Madison Brengle. The Romanians won the match before being knocked out in the third round.

Belot explained that it was alleged that Sizikova and her doubles partner lost a service game on purpose, with the Russian serving double faults.

He added that Sizikova had contacted tennis authorities last year and that she provided them with a explanation, which he says “satisfied” them.

“It is therefore serenely and in the best possible state of mind that Yana Sizikova went to Paris a week ago to play in the 2021 French Open women’s doubles tournament,” said Belot.

“She and her father were extremely shocked when she was arrested.”

Shamil Tarpischev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation, told the RIA news agency that he had been informed of Sizikova’s detention.

“We have not received any documents (regarding the case), so it’s difficult to make an assessment of what has happened,” Tarpischev was quoted as saying.

The Russian Tennis Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency, the independent anti-corruption body set up by the sport’s governing bodies, was not immediately available to confirm it had been contacted.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which runs the women’s tour, could not be immediately reached either.

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Julien Pretot in Paris, and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; Editing by Toby Davis, Jon Boyle and Pritha Sarkar)