A top young tennis player, Maxime Hamou has been banished from the French Open after repeatedly trying to kiss a reporter live on air after crashing out of the tournament.
Maxime, 21, was approached by Eurosport’s Maly Thomas for an interview after his 6-3 6-2 6-4 loss in the first round at the Roland-Garros stadium in Paris.
Hamou, ranked 287 in the world, then put his arm round Thomas and persistently leaned in to try to kiss her on the cheek. When she tried to pull away, he leaned in again more forcefully.
The French Tennis Federation said tournament organisers ‘took the decision to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his inappropriate behaviour towards a female journalist’.
In a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, Hamou said:
‘I offer my deep apologies to Maly Thomas if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview. ‘I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros… and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm crudely towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely. ‘I’m still learning every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.’
Ms Thomas had approached the tennis ace to ask him a question after the outdoor match on Monday evening. Instead of answering, Hamou wrapped his arms around her while the cameras rolled.
The reporter can be seen ducking out of the way before Mr Hamou leans in for another kiss.
Back in the studio, the reporter’s colleagues could barely contain themselves as the scenes unfolded.
After Thomas asked him why he was still at Roland Garros despite losing, he finally replied:
‘I just finished my recovery, the stretching and all that. ‘I’m going home to shower and eat at the restaurant with my family