Japan's Morigami match-fixing claims probed
Sat May 31, 2008 5:24pm BST
PARIS (Reuters) - Organisers of the French Open will investigate claims that Japan's Akiko Morigami was asked to throw a doubles match at the claycourt grand slam this week, the ITF said on Saturday.
Morigami accused a national team coach of asking her to deliberately lose the match as a defeat would boost partner Aiko Nakamura's chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics by freeing her up for a tournament next week, Jiji Press reported.
"The ITF takes this allegation very seriously and, with the grand slams and WTA Tour, has zero tolerance for any attempt to influence the outcome of a match," the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.
"We will defer, for the present time, to the Roland Garros referee and the grand slam supervisors who will investigate this claim.
"It is especially disappointing for the ITF because even the suggestion of impropriety regarding the Olympic tennis event is contrary to the spirit of the Olympic Games."
The International Olympic Committee said they would not comment until they have all the details of the story.
Morigami, who lost the first-round match in question 6-0 6-1 to Taiwan's fourth seeds Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung, told Japanese media: "That a coach would say that to me before a match was a shock.
"It was irritating and a big disappointment. It's a shame. I always try my best to win. That's not something you should say to an athlete. It's a real shame," said Morigami, who did not name the coach.
Japan's number three Nakamura, ranked 71 in the world, still has an outside chance of making the Olympic squad which will be selected via the world rankings published on June 9.
(additional reporting by Alastair Himmer; editing by Miles Evans)