A scandalous cloud cast itself over Roland Garros yesterday when Russian tennis player Yana Sizikova was arrested in Paris on suspicion of match-fixing.
Sizikova had been in doubles action in the French Open on Friday. She and her partner Ekaterina Alexandrova suffered a 6-1, 6-1 loss to the Australian pairing of Ajla Tomljanovic and Storm Sanders in the first round.
French media outlet Le Parisien was the first publication to report the news. The story goes that shortly after yesterday’s defeat Sizikova was arrested pending an investigation into “active and passive sports corruption” and “organised gang fraud”.
The defeat at the hands of Tomljanovic and Sanders is not the game that has been called into suspicion, though – at least not yet.
The current focus of the investigation is a game that occurred during last year’s 2020 French Open when Sizikova and her partner Madison Brengle lost 7-6(8) 6-4 to the Romanian pairing of Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig.
Hundreds of thousands of euros were placed on a break of serve during the second set, which constitutes abnormal betting activity. As a result, an investigation by the French authorities into Sizikova as a potential match-fixer began in October of last year.
As the above footage from the now infamous encounter shows, Sizikova, a debutant at the event, made two double faults and seemingly imploded out on the court, as she was personally responsible for two of the three points given away.
It’s unclear as to whether or not there was any suspicious activity during yesterday’s doubles encounter.
Regardless, once the Russian had finished her post-game massage session, the French police took Sizikova into custody. Her hotel room has also been searched as part of the investigation.
President of the Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev has acknowledged Sizikova’s arrest and was asked for comment yesterday, responding:
“We have not received any documents, so it’s difficult to make an assessment of what has happened.”
Sizikova is an 11 year veteran of the tennis circuit and has amassed close to £150,000 during that time.
If found guilty of match-fixing by the authorities, it would likely bring the curtain down on the Russian’s professional career, and in the most shameful manner possible.