I completelythe understand the need to suspend a tennis player that is convicted and found guilty of price fixing a match, but being suspended when you told the mafia “No” seems kinda weird. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian world No 3, said she was surprised to hear of Ekaterina Bychkova’s 30-day suspension because she had been unaware that players were obliged to report any ‘approaches’ to the tennis authorities.
Kuznetsova declined to divulge whether she had been approached. Of course, she now nows the consequences from such actions and will keep her lips sealed on the matter. Bychkova was offered “substantial compensation”, and turned down the offer, but she kept that information secret until they questioned her.
In the past, John McEnroe has suggested that the Russian tennis mafia could have been attempting to influence matches, and the American former world No 1 has attacked the decision to punish Bychkova, who was also fined $5,000 (£3,100).
“From what I understand, she was approached, said no, and just because she didn’t report that – maybe she was afraid, I think that’s a legitimate concern – and so then she’s suspended,” McEnroe said. “It’s one of those ‘cockamamie’ rules again that I’ve been railing against, that doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense to me. Certainly that should be followed up so that someone who is actually doing the right thing doesn’t get penalised, as opposed to someone who does the wrong thing and gets away with it, potentially.”
Kuznetsova, last season’s French Open champion, said she had “never heard” of the rule saying that approaches must be reported. “I don’t know exactly the thing going on with her, and definitely I will ask and go deeper into the subject because I think it’s very important,” she said. “If people come to me and ask something, I say no – I didn’t know I had to go and report the approach. Maybe she didn’t know either, so how can we say she is guilty? I don’t understand that.”
Kuznetsova was extremely cautious about whether she had been approached. “Well, you know, if I say yes they are going to send me home. I don’t know. Approaches can be different. You can think it’s a joke but maybe somebody else thinks it can be for real. You might not get if it’s an approach or not. Do I have to go and tell the WTA every joke I get about an approach? You never know. I think we just need a better explanation about that,” she said.
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