PARIS (Reuters) - Maxime Hamou was banished from the French Open on Tuesday after the French player kissed and cuddled a TV journalist following his first-round exit, the French tennis federation (FFT) said.
“The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behavior with a journalist yesterday,” the FFT said in statement.
Footage of the interview showed Hamou pulling the female journalist close before kissing her on the side of the head. As the reporter looked embarrassed and tried to push him away, he kissed her again.
After answering a question Hamou, who is ranked 287 in the world, kissed her a third time, and pulled her towards him while she tried to peel his hand off her chest.
“We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening’s interview between Maly Thomas and Maxime Hamou,” Eurosport said in a statement to Reuters.
“The behavior 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.”
“Had it not been live, I would have punched him with a right,” Thomas was quoted as saying by The Huffington Post.
French Sports Minister Laura Flessel also blamed Hamou.
“No, a live aggression is nothing funny. Never allow it to happen, never trivialize such things,” she wrote on Twitter.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ossian Shine and Ken Ferris