x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

French tennis player Montcourt dies

French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt died during the night at the age of 24, according to reports in France.

Mathieu Montcourt died today aged 24.
Mathieu Montcourt died today aged 24.

French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt died during the night at the age of 24, according to reports in France. The French tennis federation (FTT) said today that Montcourt had died overnight but that "the causes of his death are not yet known." "It is with great sadness that the French tennis federation has learnt of the sudden death of Mathieu Montcourt," the FFT said. "Mathieu was an enthusiastic young man, passionate, very endearing, and extremely appreciated for his kindness and politeness." French media earlier reported that Montcourt, ranked 119, was found dead by his girlfriend in the stairwell of his Paris apartment. No further details were given as to how he died. The FFT said only that "an autopsy will be carried out to determine the exact cause of his death," without specifying when that would take place. "Mathieu was a promising young player," said Patrice Dominguez, the FFT's technical director. "We are totally devastated. Our first thoughts are with his family." Last month, Montcourt achieved his highest career ranking of 104 after reaching the second round at Roland Garros, where he lost to Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in four sets. In May, Montcourt was handed a five-week ban and fined US$12,000 (Dh44,000) for betting on other matches. That ban took effect Monday. Montcourt complained during the French Open that the punishment was too harsh, saying that he never bet more than US$3 at any time, and never on his own matches - a fact confirmed by the ATP which oversees the men's Tour. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Montcourt had wagered a total of US$192 on 36 tennis events in 2005. His suspension was reduced on appeal from eight weeks to five. The issue of betting in tennis drew increased attention from the sport's governing bodies after an online bookmaker voided all wagers on a 2007 match involving Nikolay Davydenko. About US$7 million was bet - 10 times the usual amount for a similar-level match - and most of the money backed Davydenko's lower-ranked opponent. Davydenko was cleared in September after a year-long investigation.

*AP