Brazil's Joao Souza has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis due to corruption offences, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) announced. Sousa, ranked at No. 404 in the world, last played at the Santiago Challenger at the beginning of last month.
The 30-year-old Brazilian won his Santiago opener before he lost to Argentina's Facundo Arguello in the round-of-16. "Brazilian tennis player Joao Sousa has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof.
Richard H. McLaren," the TIU said in its released statement. "The suspension relates to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit into alleged breaches of the Anti-Corruption program and applies with effect from 29 March 2019.
"This means that Mr. Souza is prohibited from competing in, or attending, any sanctioned event organized by the governing bodies of the sport for the duration of his suspension." The TIU also underlined that they have zero tolerance for corruption offenses as they said: "The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis." Souza, who turned professional in 2006, has never won an ATP title as he has spent the majority of his career on the ATP Challenger circuit. The Brazilian achieved his singles career-high ranking of No. 69 in the world four years ago in 2015.