French tennis player died of 'natural causes': autopsy

PARIS: French tennis player Mathieu Montcourt, found dead outside his apartment in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt early Tuesday, died of natural causes, police said Wednesday, citing early autopsy findings.

"First indications lead us to conclude this was a natural death. But one must await the result of toxicological analyses, which should be forthcoming next week, in order to be completely certain," a police source told AFP following the autopsy at the Paris Medico-Legal Institute (IML).

The body of the 24-year-old sportsman, currently 119th in the ATP rankings, was found by his girlfriend outside their ground floor apartment. She alerted police, who said there were no indications that Montcourt had been attacked.

A tennis professional since 2002, Montcourt reached a career best world ranking of 104th in June after qualifying for the main draw at the French Open and reaching the second round where he lost in four sets to Radek Stepanek.

His last tournament was in the Croatian town of Rijeka late June where he reached the semi-final of a Challenger Tour event.

His career was badly hit in August last year when he was banned for eight weeks and fined 12,000 dollars for betting on the Internet on the outcome of tennis matches.

Montcourt appealed against the ban and the Lausanne-based Court of Arbritation for Sports reduced the sanction by two weeks citing the small sums of money involved - 192 dollars on 36 games - and the fact that he did not bet on games in which he was playing.