German tennis federation plays down Haas poison rumour

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BERLIN, Nov 8 (Reuters) The German tennis federation (DTB) believes there is no medical evidence to support a rumour that Tommy Haas was poisoned during Germany's Davis Cup semi-final defeat by Russia in Moscow in September.

Alexander Waske, a doubles player in the beaten German team, was quoted in German media yesterday as saying an unnamed Russian had told him in Moscow that Haas had been poisoned.

A DTB spokesman said on Thursday that Haas had confirmed he would travel to New York for hair and blood tests to see if there was any truth to the rumour.

However, he said that German team doctor Erich Rembeck had noted there was no medical evidence to support the claim.

''There is no medical reason that justifies further, targeted tests with regard to poisoning,'' the spokesman said.

''As an association, we must rely on facts in judging and assessing the situation and not on speculation,'' he added.

''Therefore, because we have no evidence of poisoning and because we do not know how reliable the informant is, we must assume that it's no more than speculation.'' Haas, Germany's number one player, was beaten in straight sets on the opening day of the match and was unable to play in the reverse singles on Sunday because of a case of gastro-enteritis.

''I had never in my life felt so dreadful and I was really starting to get scared,'' Haas was quoted as saying in Thursday's Bild newspaper.

Russia won the tie 3-2 with victories in both the final day's singles rubbers.

''We lost that weekend because the Russian team was better than us over the three days,'' the DTB said, adding that it was not considering challenging the result.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is investigating the rumour, ITF spokeswoman Barbara Travers said.

REUTERS TB HS1741

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