French tennis player Maxime Hamou has been kicked out of the French Open for grabbing and attempting to kiss a female reporter live on air.
The bizarre incident came as Hamou was being interviewed by Maly Thomas on Eurosport after his first-round loss to Pablo Cuevas on Monday.
The 21-year-old wrapped his arm around the reporter as she delivered questions, and then attempted to smooch her, first on the forehead, and then on the cheek.
After she rebuffed him and tried pushing him away, he refused to release his grip on her, leading to an awkward struggle.
The reporter described the incident as “frankly unpleasant” and stated that had it not occurred on live television, she “would have punched him.”
The French Tennis Federation released a statement shortly after the incident that read: “The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behaviour with a journalist yesterday.”
Rafael Nadal, seeking “La Decima,” a 10th championship title at Roland Garros, has had his say on the incident.
"The only thing that I can say is I watched the video, and it was a little bit uncomfortable for the girl,” he said.
Here is said video.
The tournament favourite added, when asked about appropriate disciplinary action for Hamou: “I cannot talk much about that. That's not - something that happened in our sport, but they take a position, so they are free to do what they want."
The world 287, who made it into the tournament as one of eight wildcard choices, has since shown contrition for his actions.
“I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview,” he told French newspaper L’Equipe.
Despite the controversy off the court, action on the court has made for pleasant viewing, with Nadal and Novak Djokovic both progressing yesterday.
Andy Murray is in action today, looking to join both Nadal and Djokovic in the next round.
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