Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 20 News List

French police await autopsy after tennis player dies aged 24


Authorities are hoping an autopsy yesterday would explain the death of French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt, who was found collapsed outside his Paris apartment by his girlfriend overnight.

The 24-year-old Montcourt’s girlfriend found him lying next to his bicycle in the corridor leading to his front door, the French tennis federation’s (FFT) technical director Patrice Dominguez told reporters on Tuesday.

“I have seen the police report and for the moment there is no cause of death, and only the autopsy [yesterday morning] will eventually find an explanation,” Dominguez said by telephone. “She [Montcourt’s girlfriend] was staying at his place and he was coming home on his bike around quarter past midnight, or half [past] midnight.”

Montcourt’s girlfriend, who was with a friend in the apartment, became alarmed when Montcourt failed to arrive.

“She was with a friend in Mathieu Montcourt’s apartment,” Dominguez said.

“They came out after a while, having left him [phone] messages, and noticed that he was lying on the floor next to his bike ... They called the [ambulance], but unfortunately he was already dead,” Dominguez added.

Last month, Montcourt attained his highest career ranking of No. 104 after reaching the second round at Roland Garros, where he lost to Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in four sets.

Four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who grew up playing regularly against Montcourt on the junior circuit, said he was shocked by the news.

“This morning I woke up with one of the worst news anyone can receive,” Nadal said on his Web site.

“I heard about the death of our friend Mathieu Montcourt. I am still under shock for this. I can’t believe it,” Nadal said.


Yesterday’s results

• Sinon Bulls 9,

Uni-President Lions 2

Today’s games

• Brother Elephants v

La New Bears

(Sinjhuang, 6:30pm)

• Sinon Bulls v

Uni-President Lions

(Tainan, 6:30pm)

Recalling their junior days, the 23-year-old Nadal said: “I knew Mathieu since we were kids. We competed together at all the events at an international level there is [when] you are a kid.”

In May, Montcourt was handed a five-week ban and fined US$12,000 for betting on other matches. That ban took effect on Monday.

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