Prosecutors in France have opened an investigation into match-fixing at the ongoing French Open, according to French news service AFP.
The target is a double match featuring Romanian pair, Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig, as well as Yana Sizikova of Russia and her American partner, Madison Brengle.
No individual player has been named as a target. The Romanian team won the match in straight sets.
The probe by the Paris prosecutor’s office appears to be gang-related, as the charges being investigated are for ‘fraud in an organised group’ as well as ‘active and passive corruption in sport.’ It’s centered on the first-round encounter between the teams on September 30th at the French Open.
Match-fixing investigations are usually triggered by reports of unusual betting patterns, most often shared by legal internet betting sites, who work hand-in-hand with anti-corruption officers at the International Tennis Federation’s Integrity Unit. The TIU, which has jurisdiction over the entire sport, polices tennis and has the power to suspend players and to bring introduce disciplinary measures against them.
Generally, players convicted of match-fixing have been struggling while lower-ranked players are competing in tournaments that are not officially on ATP or WTA tour level. But some more prominent players have also been investigated on rare occasions. No player of top-10 caliber has ever been convicted of match-fixing.
The criminal investigation runs on a different track, leaving players open to punitive prosecution and punitive action. Legal entities in nations that have anti-corruption laws governing sports are notified when a match is under suspicion. It is unclear if the origin of the investigation was in the French prosecutor’s office or the TIU.
Match-fixing often has little to do with the outcome of a match. It can involve the actions of a player or a team in a single game or even point-by-point, as many betting sites offer live wagering.