French tennis player banned after kissing reporter

Doug Mendoza
May 31, 2017

Maxime Hamou, an up-and-coming tennis player, has been removed from the French Open and could face further punishment after repeatedly kissing and nearly choke-holding a female reporter, who interviewed him live following his first-round loss Monday.

French Open organisers said the star was guilty of "reprehensible behaviour". Hamou pulled Thomas towards him and tried to kiss her head several times as she tried to push him away.

The pick-up interview, broadcast live on the Eurosports network's post-match Advantage Leconte following the first day of matches, caused an overnight firestorm with social media criticizing both Hamou as well as the confused, embarassing response from studio anchor Henri Leconte and network officials.

Maxime Hamou pulled Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas close to him and kissed her repeatedly while holding her around her neck and shoulders Monday.

Thomas spoke to Célia Cazale of The Huffington Post France afterwards and said she would have hit Hamou if she wasn't live.

In an interview following his first round defeat to Pablo Cuevas, 21-year-old Hamou wrapped his arm around Thomas, and just wouldn't quit it with the attempted kisses.

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It is the latest case to provoke allegations of harassment of female sports reporters.

In a statement sent to CNN, Eurosport said: "We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening's interview between Maly Thomas and Maxime Hamou".

'I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well, ' he told her.

The incident draws parallels with the inappropriate comments made by cricketer Chris Gayle to female interviewer Melanie McLaughlin during a T20 match in 2016.

Gayle was later fined $7,200 (£4,900) by his club for "inappropriate conduct".

He walked out of an interview on Friday, refusing to answer a "poorly worded" question from one journalist.

Other reports by GizPress

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