The chances are, you’ve never heard of Maxime Hamou.
After all, even the most dedicated tennis fans might be left scratching their heads over the obscure Frenchman. Then again, that’s what you get when you’re ranked a lowly 287th in the world rankings.
Nevertheless, Hamou has certainly gained some publicity over the course of the 2017 French Open but for all the wrong reasons.
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The 21-year-old has experienced some of his finer performances at Roland Garros in his otherwise uneventful two-year professional career. Even with two attempts, though, he is still yet to make it past the first round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Furthermore, 2017 wasn’t a year to buck the trend with Hamou suffering elimination at the hands of Pablo Cuevas. He was only able to reach such a stage after being selected as one of eight wildcards for the tournament, anyway.
Even with elimination however, Hamou could put his feet up and enjoy the remainder of one of tennis’ most prestigious tournaments right? Well, no actually.
After his defeat to Cuevas, the Frenchman was interviewed by Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas for the programme Avantage Leconte. What then followed was simply outrageous and fundamentally out of order.
The 21-year-old proceeded to wrap his arm around the journalist and began kissing her on both the head and neck. Even after initial protests from Thomas, he continued to harass her.
The episode can be seen below:
The reporters in the studio may have been laughing and clapping at the time, yet it was far from a jovial incident. Thomas certainly felt aggrieved and, according to the Guardian, called the incident: “frankly unpleasant.”
She went onto to say: “If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him.”
Such behavior hasn’t gone unpunished either and in spite of Hamou’s elimination, he was further banned from the tournament. As a result, the player won’t be given any credit or note for his performances at Roland Garros.
Nevertheless, Hamou was keen to apologise for his actions and expressed his remorse in an interview with French newspaper l’Equipe.
He explained: “I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview.
“I just lived a wonderful week here in Roland Garros living my most beautiful emotions as a tennis player, and I let my overflow of enthusiasm express myself awkwardly towards Maly, who I know and sincerely respect. Nothing of all that is written was my intention.
“I am at her disposal to apologise to her in person if she so wishes. I learn every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.”
It’s fair to say, it’s probably he least he could do.
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