French ban lifted on Mladenovic and Garcia

Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia can play for France in the Fed Cup final against the Czech Republic after the French Tennis Federation lifted their bans.

The pair had been provisionally suspended for “damaging” the federation’s image at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where the players criticised the FTT over a clothing mix-up after their defeat in the first round of the doubles.

Mladenovic and Garcia said they weren’t informed that, as doubles partners, they had to wear the same colours.

The players were told just before going on court they could lose by default if they didn’t change their clothing, and Mladenovic had to lend Garcia some spare gear.

The FFT said the players “expressed regrets for remarks they made following a terrible disappointment and frustration”.

France hosts two-time defending champion Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final on November 12-13 in Strasbourg.

The Czechs are bidding for a fifth title in six years, while France plays its first final since 2005.

“We wanted to move on,” France captain Amelie Mauresmo said on the federation’s Twitter account.

“There was this unfortunate episode in Rio, now we need to move forward. I wanted a defusing of the situation, that everyone took a step forward. I’m only interested in focusing on that final.”

In a statement on Saturday, the FFT accepted “its share of responsibility in the problems that occurred at the Rio Olympics” but extended the suspension of Benoit Paire until the end of February 2017.

Seeded 16th at the Rio Games, Paire was sent home after being kicked off France’s team.

He was accused of breaking team rules after he reportedly sometimes stayed away from the village, or came back late.

He also made dismissive comments about the importance of the Games because there were no ranking points.

The suspension means he cannot be selected in the French Davis Cup team.

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