Not long ago, breaking news came out that could end up shocking the sports world of betting. A women’s doubles match in the 2020 French Open between the team of Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig battling partners Madison Brengle and Yana Sizikova was accused of match-fixing, better known as throwing the game for betting purposes. In the late afternoon of Wednesday, a prosecutor was said to confirm this allegation. This news came a week later from when the match was played on September 30th.
This suspicion arose after Sizikova, specifically in the second set of the fifth game, faulted rather obviously 2 times in a row. This then led to her missing a ball that could have easily been hit had she been standing in a ready, athletic stance. A video of the incidents can be found here. This suspicion also follows after a long line of history in fraud betting in the tennis scene. Specifically, tennis has been labeled as one of the worst sports to have betting fraud and match-fixing. According to WELT, a German news source who first reported on the incident, no other sport quite compares to tennis when it comes to fraud. On one hand, it is much easier to manipulate competitors in an individual sport, as fewer people are involved in the matters. On the other hand, there are immense sums of money flowing in tennis, which also influences the supply of the betting market. Another thing that may need to be considered now is the financial pressure the Coronavirus pandemic has put on some officials and others working the games. It was also reported by WELT that “several hundred thousand euros” are suspected to be involved.
The extent to which the players themselves were involved is still unknown at this time, although should not be ruled out prematurely. As WELT reported in 2019, there have been over 135 players known to be involved in throwing games for betting reasons. Also in 2019 alone, 20 players received bans for these actions. Investigations will continue on the matter, as the FBI will now be assisting in the case. Dustin Phelps, an occasional viewer of the sport, was both shocked and disappointed when he heard about the allegations. “I’m disappointed in the sport of tennis as a whole… this will greatly affect how much I watch moving forward knowing that this is in the sport.”
As more information on this will begin to come out sooner rather than later, the tournament is still continuing on. Novak Djokovic, a decorated tennis star and one of the favorites heading in, is finding himself in a much better place than where he was the last tournament. After blatantly arguing and yelling at officials and even going to the extent of unintentionally injuring a ball boy with a stray extra ball, Djokovic has recalibrated and made it to the quarterfinals with no qualms so far. This would prove to be a huge bounce back for the Serbian. Aside from the faults that took place in the US Open, Djokovic has not lost a match in 2020. More on what’s going on in the world of tennis will be soon to follow.
Media by Seth Isringhausen.