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French player Montcourt dies at 24

FRENCH player Mathieu Montcourt has died. He was 24.

The French tennis federation said yesterday 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 learned 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 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 Montcourt 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.

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 at the French Open.

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.

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. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Montcourt had wagered a total of US$192 on 36 tennis events in 2005. It reduced his suspension on appeal from eight weeks to five.


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