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"If I hadn't been live on air, I'd have punched him": Tennis player banned for groping interviewer

Tennis

French tennis player Maxime Hamou has been banished from the French Open after he kissed and cuddled a TV journalist on air following his first-round exit, the French tennis federation (FFT) says.

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“The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behaviour 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 he 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 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’s coach, Martin Vaisse, said the player “gets along well with the channel (Eurosport) and he wanted to be very friendly.”

“But at the age of 21, one can also be very clumsy,” he added.

“I’m not here to make excuses for him, he made a mistake by acting the clown and he must be able to sense when it’s time to stop the nonsense.”

“It’s a big point I need to work on with him.”

Thomas, on the other hand, told Huffington Post France that the experience had been “frankly unpleasant.”

“If I hadn’t been live on air, I’d have punched him,” she said.

“It does not give a good picture of him, he destroys himself by doing this.”

Hamou was knocked in the first round after a resounding 3-6 2-6 4-6 defeat by Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas.

-EFE

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