Russian doubles ace Yana Sizikova, who is said to have had her room ransacked and been detained over suspicions relating to last year’s French Open, has been released and is considering a libel complaint, according to a report.
Moscow-born Sizikova was arrested following her first-round defeat at this season’s competition, with the Paris prosecutor’s office confirming to the Associated Press that Sizikova was being investigated regarding “sports bribery and organized fraud” at the previous edition of the Grand Slam, when she made her debut there.
The 26-year-old is said to have been stopped as she left a massage room following her straight sets loss with new teammate Yekaterina Alexandrova to Australian duo Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomjanovic on Thursday, and Le Parisien claimed that her hotel room was also searched.
“Yana Sizikova is shocked and rejects charges of crimes she has never committed… these accusations harm her reputation,” her lawyer, Frederic Belo, told Tass, adding that he was unsure whether his client would be allowed to leave Paris over a sporting corruption investigation that could carry a fine of more than $600,000, he said.
“She is also suspected of fraud as part of an organized group. Under this article, she could face up to five years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros ($368,000).”
The investigation began last October into a match Sizikova played in at Roland Garros, according to RIA Novosti.
The report said that tens of thousands of dollars in bets from different countries were placed on the first-round match, which Sizikova and American Madison Brengle lost to Romanians Andrea Mitu and Patricia Maria.
According to Sport Bible, hundreds of thousands of dollars were placed on a break of serve during the second set.
“Since this is an article about organized fraud, we can talk about ten years in prison,” RIA Novosti reported Belo as explaining, quoting him as saying that a preliminary investigation is taking place and no charges have been brought against Sizikova.
“This is… absolutely disproportionate to the facts, given that she did nothing and is absolutely innocent.”
Governing bodies have recognized match-fixing as a serious problem in the professional game.
Players have been hit with lifetime bans when they have been found to have been involved in match-fixing activity.
The punishments have tended to involve lower-ranked players at lesser-known tournaments.