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Tennis Mourns Passing Of Montcourt

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Mathieu Montcourt© AFP/Getty Images

Tributes have flooded in for French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt, who died during Monday night, aged 24.

Preliminary results from the autopsy showed that Montcourt suffered a heart attack. His PR agency, Carre Final, added in a statement that the toxicology tests were negative.

In a statement, the French Tennis Federation said: "The FFT is literally in shock after hearing of the death of Mathieu Montcourt. The 24 year old was a charming person, a strong personality and an independent character, who was appreciated by all the French and international tennis players. His sudden death fills the entire tennis community with deep sadness."

Technical director Patrice Dominguez added: "Mathieu was a young hope, who was climbing up the Rankings. He was a hard-working player, very serious and healthy. He was an extremely kind boy, open minded and always very curious. We are devastated and our thoughts go out to his family."

On his personal web site, reigning ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal wrote: "This morning I woke up with one of the worst news anyone can receive. I heard about the death of our friend Mathieu Montcourt. I am still under shock for this. I can't believe it. I knew Mathieu since we were kids. We competed together at all the events at an international level there is since you are a kid: Les Petit As, Copa Borotta, etc. and of course afterwards once becoming professionals.

"When someone like this disappears, when something like this happens, you really know where we are and the relativeness of winning or losing a tennis match, of not competing at an event or anything else. This is the loss of a guy who was only 24 years old and who was a sports person. He won't be playing with us again. I would like to send my most deep and sincere condolences to his family, to his friends and to the French fans."

Frenchmen reacted to the news of Montcourt's sudden death. "My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time," said Sebastien Grosjean. "He was a really nice guy and hard worker. It's really sad. I practiced with him many times during the past couple of years." Meanwhile, Fabrice Santoro was at a loss for words: "He was a very good guy and I don't know what to say. It's really sad."

The Monaco Davis Cup team (Benjamin Balleret, Jean Rene Lisnard, Guillaume Couillard and Clement Morel) currently preparing to play in Finland, said: "It is awful and not normal. He was a very good friend with the whole team. We are still wondering how such things can happen, especially for somebody like him - who was full of life and in really good health! Well we guess there is nothing to understand. It must be so tough for his family and his girlfriend."

Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky also remembered Montcourt: "He was a really nice guy and we played together through juniors. It's a shame to lose a great guy so young."
                                        
Paris native Montcourt was currently No. 119 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings and last month reached a career high of No. 104, shortly after reaching the second round at Roland Garros – where he lost to No. 19 Radek Stepanek in four sets.

"It's a great tragedy and sad day in tennis," said ATP Board Member Justin Gimelstob. "The tennis community is a tight group and to lose one of our players at such a young age is really difficult for everyone."

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