French tennis player Maxime Hamou has been banished from the 2017 French Open for trying to kiss a television reporter against her will during a live broadcast Tuesday.
Tournament organisers say Hamou, 21, was kicked out of the tournament for his “reprehensible behaviour” that saw him try to kiss and grope the reporter.
On a day that witnessed spectacular fireworks at Roland Garros with the survival of world no 1 Andy Murray and exit of German young gun Alexander Zverev, Hamou raised the temperatures by grabbing Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas around the neck and shoulders and groping her while she interviewed him following his first round defeat.
“It was frankly unpleasant. If it hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him,” a shocked Maly told the French edition of the Huffington Post.
— Lynn Bee (@lynnlovestennis) May 30, 2017
As a result of his inappropriate behaviour, Hamou, the world No 287, was subsequently banished from the Roland Garros site by organisers.
“The tournament directors have decided to cancel the accreditation of Maxime Hamou following his reprehensible behaviour with a journalist on Monday,” said a Roland Garros statement.
Similarly, a Eurosport spokesman told AFP that Hamou’s actions were “highly inappropriate”.
“The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way,” the spokesman said.
“Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered. We apologise to any viewers who may have been affected.”
The incident echoed remarks by West Indies cricket legend Chris Gayle in 2016, in which he ignored questions from journalist Mel McLaughlin and instead told her: “Your eyes are beautiful, hopefully, we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well. Don’t blush, baby.”
A similar incident occurred this year when Romanian legend Ilie Nastasie tried to hit on Great Britain Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong, who was four-month pregnant.