The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) is imposing bans on three professional tennis players for their involvement in match-fixing schemes. Timur Khabibulin, Sanjar Fayziev and Igor Smilansky were all sanctioned by the governing body which can, and does, impose lifetime bans, shorter suspensions and monetary fines.
Khabibulin from Kazakhstan came out the worst of the three with a lifetime ban from the sport and a $60,000 fine. The charges against Khabibulin, whose Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles ranking peaked at 154, related to a 21fixed matches between 2014 and 2019.
Fayziev, an Uzbeki tennis professional, is alleged to have participated in just five fixed matches during 2018. He’s been fined $15,000 and is banned from professional play for three years and six months (though six months of the suspension have been suspended). Fayziev’s top ranking also peaked out at 154.
Smilansky, of Israel, came out the best of three with only a two year ban and a $4,000 fine. ITIA officials suspended $1,000 of Smilansky’s fine, though details of his match-fixing activities were not included in the ITIA’s official announcement of the ban. Smilansky’s highest ATP ranking was 451.
Players banned by the ITIA are prohibited from playing in, or coaching at tennis tournaments sanctioned by the ITIA: ATP, ITF, WTA, Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open, or any national association.
Professional tennis has long been vulnerable to match-fixing thanks to its large field of professionals, many of whom struggle financially as they work their way up the rankings. Low level players are frequently asked to throw matches that mean little to their professional advancement, but require expensive entry fees. The ITIA has been extremely proactive in the fight against match-fixing, making suspensions of this type a regular occurrence.