a true le sigh: montcourt dead at 24

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Let’s hope this had nothing to do with him getting banned by the tour for betting on other matches…

French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt dies at 24

(Click on the link above, or read on after the cut…

PARIS – French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt, who was recently banned for betting on matches, has died. He was 24.

The French tennis federation said Tuesday that Montcourt died overnight but the cause of death is not yet known, and an autopsy will be conducted.

French media reported the 119th-ranked Montcourt was found dead by his girlfriend in the stairwell of his Paris apartment. In May, Montcourt was handed a five-week ban and fined $12,000 for betting on other matches. That ban took effect Monday.

“It is with great sadness that the French tennis federation has learned of the sudden death of Mathieu Montcourt,” the French tennis federation said. “Mathieu was an enthusiastic young man, passionate, very endearing, and extremely appreciated for his kindness and politeness.”

Four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who grew up playing 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.”

Montcourt complained during the French Open that the punishment was too harsh, saying that he never bet more than $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 $192 on 36 tennis events in 2005. It reduced his suspension 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 $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 yearlong investigation.

(AP, via Chris)

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