Maxime Hamou, a French tennis player, has been banished from the French Open by the organisers after he tried to kiss a television reporter against her will during a live broadcast. The organisers called the 21-year-old's action "reprehensible behaviour". Hamou grabbed Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas around the neck and shoulders while she interviewed him following his first round defeat on Monday. "It was frankly unpleasant. If it hadn't been live on air, I would have punched him," Thomas told the French edition of the Huffington Post.
Hamou, the world No 287, was subsequently banished. "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.
A Eurosport spokesman told AFP that Hamou's actions were "highly inappropriate".
"We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening's interview between Maly Thomas and Maxime Hamou. 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 West Indies cricket legend Chris Gayle's behaviour with a female reporter after a match in Australia in January 2016. Gayle opted to ignore questions on the game from Network Ten 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."
(With AFP inputs)