The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has handed down bans to three professional players after determining their involvement in match-fixing activities. Timur Khabibulin from Kazakhstan, Sanjar Fayziev from Uzbekistan, and Igor Smilansky from Israel have all been banned for their actions, with the ITIA citing violations of its Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP).
Khabibulin, who achieved the highest ATP doubles ranking of 154, has been hit with a lifetime ban and a $60,000 fine for his 21 match-fixing charges spanning from 2014 to 2019. Fayziev, also holding a highest ATP doubles ranking of 154, has received a three-year and six-month ban, with six months being suspended, and a $15,000 fine for his five match-fixing offenses in 2018. Smilansky, whose highest ATP singles ranking was 451, has been handed a two-year ban and a $4,000 penalty for his involvement in three match-fixing charges in 2018, with $1,000 of the penalty being suspended.
These sanctions will take effect from the players’ provisional suspensions on July 25, 2023. Fayziev will be banned until July 24, 2026, and Smilansky until July 24, 2025. Additionally, both Fayziev and Smilansky are prohibited from participating in, coaching at, or attending events authorized or sanctioned by ITIA members, including major tournaments such as the ATP, ITF, WTA, Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and US Open. Khabibulin’s lifetime ban means he will never be allowed to compete in professional tennis events again.
These players join a growing list of tennis players facing sanctions from the ITIA for match-fixing. In September, Sweden’s Dragos Nicolae Madaras was provisionally suspended, and in August, French tennis player Alexis Musialek was banned for life after an investigation into his involvement in fixing nine tennis matches between 2016 and 2018. Maxence Broville of France was also provisionally suspended in September for match-fixing.
The ITIA’s actions serve as a strong stance against match-fixing in tennis, aiming to uphold integrity within the sport and deter players from engaging in corrupt activities.