'World's worst' tennis player loses libel action

Tennis pro Robert Dee today lost his libel action over a claim that he was the "world's worst".











Mr Dee, 23, who comes from Bexley, Kent, but is based in La Manga, Spain, had brought proceedings in London's High Court over an April 2008 story in the Daily Telegraph.



He said it was offensive and could blight his potential future career as a tennis coach.



The newspaper fought the case on the basis that the article, 'World's worst tennis pro wins at last', was not arguably defamatory when read together with another item in the same edition, and that Mr Dee had no real prospect of rebutting the defences of justification and fair comment.



Granting Telegraph Media Group Ltd summary judgment, Mrs Justice Sharp said that the claim of justification must succeed.



"The facts which are either admitted, not in dispute or incontestable therefore are these.



"The claimant is a professional player who did indeed lose 54 consecutive matches in tournaments on the international professional circuit during which he did not win one set.



"His losses were in tournaments which are under the jurisdiction of the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), they are world ranking tournaments and attract world ranking points.



"His record of consecutive losses was the world record equalling worst ever run of consecutive losses on the international professional circuit.



"These matches did not constitute the whole of his playing record during this time, because he was also playing in the Spanish domestic tournaments.



"The domestic Spanish tournaments in which the claimant played, and continues to play, are not part of the circuit, or the world circuit or the international professional circuit.



"They are not under the jurisdiction of the ITF or ATP. ATP ranking points are not available for them, and they are not world ranking."



She concluded that there was nothing, as a matter of reality, of which Mr Dee actually complained that could not be justified - and the facts were sufficient to justify any defamatory meaning the words complained of were capable of bearing.



The judge said that the Daily Telegraph was one of a very large number of media outlets that covered the story, and settlements and apologies had been achieved by Mr Dee from a very large number of them, including the BBC and Reuters.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'