The Grand Slam Board has reversed the unprecedented sanction imposed on Anna Tatishvili at the 2019 French Open after her quick 6-0 6-1 first-round loss, acknowledging that the Georgian-born American played “professionally from the first to the very last point”, so the total amount of her 46,000 EUR earnings will be returned to her.
A month and a half ago, Maria Sakkari needed just 55 minutes to beat Tatishvili in the first round of Roland Garros and after the match it was decided that Tatisvhili’s performance was not meeting the standards expected of a professional athlete, so she was stripped off of her entire first-round prize money. About a week later, Tatishvili appealed to the Grand Slam Board the sanction imposed on her, which she described as “unfair and discriminatory”, in an attempt to overturn the decision and restore her name.
Represented by international law firm Kirkland & Ellis, Tatishvili has found justice, as the Board’s Director acknowledged that this was “the first [First Round Performance Rule] determination where the player completed the match,” making it “more difficult – though no less critical – to establish what constitutes a ‘professional standard’.” Based on a “heightened point-by-point scrutiny of the entire match,” the Director found that “[d]espite the score line, it is clear that you — even confirmed by your in-form opponent — were competing professionally from the first to the very last point.” The Director has therefore upheld Tatishvili’s appeal, finding that the sanction imposed “must be reversed and the prize money sanction returned.”
The 29-year-old Tatishvili is happy to be able to gracefully continue her career:
I am happy that the Grand Slam Board has reversed its sanctioning decision, that the question of my performance at the French Open has now been settled, and that it’s definitively confirmed that I played to the best of my ability. I love this sport, and after years battling injury, I’m excited to be back in competition and getting stronger every day. I’m also grateful to the many people who stood with me during my appeal, both inside and outside of the tennis community, including my legal team at Kirkland & Ellis. Justice has been served, and now I can move on with my tennis career.