“It’s Against What I Grew Up In”: Serena Williams Opens Up on Betting Amid Fixing Row at French Open 2021

Published 06/05/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 4, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her third round match against Danielle Rose Collins of the U.S. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


Serena Williams has opened up on gambling in sports amid the controversy around an alleged match fixing incident that exploded into a major controversy at Roland-Garros on Friday.

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Russian tennis player Yana Sizikova was arrested over alleged involvement in match-fixing during the tournament.

Asked what she thinks of gambling in the sport during a press conference after her thumping third-round win over fellow American Danielle Collins on Friday, Serena said the practice is not consistent with the ideals and principles that she grew up on.

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She added that she isn’t gambling person herself and believes it is against her spiritual beliefs.

Serena Williams says gambling is against her spiritual beliefs

“In general with my beliefs, I don’t bet. I don’t believe in it. It’s against what I grew up in. That’s just my spiritual beliefs,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion said.

Though as an entrepreneur, she is known to put her money on start-ups that she believes in, that’s not the same as placing a bet on a particular player or team to win, or lose for that matter.

However, she added that she doesn’t know much about gambling and won’t take a judgment call on whether it’s right or wrong.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 31, 2021, Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her first round match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Serena says she doesn’t much knowledge about gambling

“I don’t know about it. I don’t know if it’s good or bad or not,” Serena added.

The local police and the French Tennis Federation (FFT), which organizes the French Open, released a statement on Friday confirming the a player had been arrested but didn’t detail the reason why.

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However, the alleged match-fixing incident took place in last year’s edition of the tournament, during a women’s doubles match involving the Romanian pair of Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari against Sizikova and American Madison Brengle.

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The Russian embassy in Paris, as well as the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, were made aware of the arrest.

“We have not received any documents (regarding the case), so it’s difficult to make an assessment of what has happened,” Tarpischev said.

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While the details of the case haven’t been put in the public domain yet, the claim of fixing, itself, has brought the game into disrepute.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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