PARIS – A Russian tennis player suspected of match-fixing last year was arrested during this year’s French Open, her lawyer told The Associated Press on Friday.
The player, Yana Sizikova from Russia in 765, denied the allegations, according to her lawyer Frederic Belot. He told The Associated Press that Sizikova would like to file a slander complaint.
The Paris public prosecutor’s office confirmed to the AP that a “female national player” is in custody, but did not identify her. She was arrested Thursday evening for “sports bribery and organized fraud”, which are believed to have been committed in September 2020, “said the prosecutor.
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A French police unit specializing in betting fraud and match fixing opened an investigation last October. It has previously worked with Belgian authorities to investigate suspicious games at the lower levels of professional tennis.
The French tennis federation said it could not provide any further information as the investigation is still ongoing.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency, which investigates match-fixing in the sport, declined to comment on the details of the case, but said in a message to the AP that “there has been an ongoing link between the ITIA and law enforcement agencies in France “.
In a telephone interview with the AP, her lawyer said Sizikova was “extremely shocked”.
“She was taken into custody like a criminal. She says she is innocent and didn’t want me to help her interrogate her because she sees herself as a victim, ”Belot said.
Belot said he didn’t start representing Sizikova until Friday after being approached by the player’s parents. He said Sizikova contacted the ITIA when the case opened last year to deny any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors said the investigation was centered on suspicions of a game at Roland Garros last year. The match was not reported. The German newspaper Die Welt and the French sports daily L’Equipe said at the time that there had been suspicious betting patterns in the first round of a women’s doubles on September 30th.