French police said on Monday that the man has been accused of secretly administering the anti-stress drug Temesta, which can cause drowsiness, to the tennis rivals of his 15-year-old son.

The accidental death of a 25-year-old player last month in a road accident opened the investigation after it was found the driver had Temesta in his system.

Investigators also followed up a complaint of cheating lodged by another tennis player following a match in which the accused's son was playing.

The man, who is in his forties, also has a 12-year-old daughter who is considered a rising star in French tennis and has competed in international tournaments in Canada and the United States.

'Unintentional death'

The accused, who is from south-west France, was arrested on his return from one of these competitions abroad.

He was charged on Sunday with "administering a harmful substance which led to the unintentional death of a person or a temporary interruption of work."

A police spokesman said: "We're trying to establish how long this went on for and how many players were concerned, it will take several months to investigate all the cases."

The tennis world has seen several examples in recent years of high-profile parents pushing their children to become the stars of the future.

Serena and Venus Williams are the most famous examples of youngsters who were pushed by their father to succeed from an early age.