French Open ban tennis player for groping and kissing reporter live on TV

The reporter admitted she 'would have punched him' had it not been live

Jack Austin
Wednesday 31 May 2017 09:24 BST
French Open bans tennis player for groping reporter live on TV

The French Open have banned a tennis player after he groped and tried to kiss a female reporter live on television.

French tennis player Maxime Hamou was banished from Roland Garros for the duration of the tournament on Tuesday after attempting to forcibly kiss Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas following his first-round loss to Pablo Cuevas.

The 21-year-old, who appeared to be in jovial mood, was interrupted by Thomas for an interview before wrapping his arm around her shoulder and repeatedly attempting to kiss her on the head.

The incident, broadcast live, brought laughter and clapping from the commentators in the studio, but Thomas called the ordeal “frankly unpleasant” and added “if it hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him”.

The French Tennis Federation reacted by revoking the world No 287’s accreditation for Roland Garros and could face further sanctions upon a review of the incident.

In a statement, they said: “The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behavior with a journalist yesterday.”

Eurosport also condemned the incident and were highly critical of Hamou’s actions, calling his behaviour “highly inappropriate”.

“We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening’s interview between Maly Thomas and Maxime Hamou,” they said in a statement. “The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way. Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered.”

Hamou later apologised for the incident and said he wanted to say sorry to Thomas in person.

“I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview,” Hamou told the French sports daily L’Equipe.

“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.”

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