Game, Set and Match-fixing, Top Tennis Players Netted
Two of the world’s top tennis players have been banned and fined for match-fixing by the sports’ International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).
Chilean player Bárbara Gatica Avilés, aged 26, has been sanctioned for three-years for throwing a match and China’s Baoluo Zheng, aged 21, has been banned for nine months for trying to bribe an opponent to lose at a tournament in Egypt.
The news comes during the week that six-time Grand Slam winner tennis legend Boris Becker was deported from the UK, back to his native Germany, after serving eight-months of a 30-months prison sentence for illegally transferring funds and assets after being declared bankrupt in June, 2017.
Avilés–already under suspension for a doping offense in May, when she was found to have consumed Boldenone, a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list, at a WTA tournament in Bogotá, Colombia–was banned for deliberately losing a match in 2016.
A specialist doubles player, with a career-high ranking of 158, she was also fined US$5,000 (£4,116/€4,700) after admitting breaching Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) rules.
“Gatica Avilés is prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis for a period of three years, starting on 9 December 2022 until 8 December 2025,” ITIA said in a statement after the ruling.
Zheng, meanwhile, was banned for nine months and also fined US$5,000 for trying to bribe an opponent to throw a match at a tourney in October this year.
Another doubles specialist, with a top 500 ranking, his case was fast-streamed under a TACP sanction that allows punishment, without a hearing, if the player admits guilt.
And, in further addition to what has been a miserable week for tennis, two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one, Romanian Simona Halep is also facing a ban for failing a drugs test at this year’s US Open.
Halep, aged 31, winner of the French Open (2018) and Wimbledon (2019), has been suspended by ITIA pending a full investigation.