Maxime Hamou has been banished from the French Open after he kissed TV journalist Maly Thomas in a live interview following his first-round exit.
Footage of the interview showed world No 287 Hamou, 21, pulling Thomas close before kissing her on the side of the head and, although the reporter looked embarrassed and tried to push him away, he kissed her again.
Thomas told the French edition of the Huffington Post: “It was frankly unpleasant.
“If it hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him.”
And the French tennis federation said in a statement on Tuesday: “The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behaviour with a journalist yesterday.”
Hamou has apologised for his behaviour via French newspaper l’Equipe and offered to meet Thomas to say sorry in person.
He said: “I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview.
“I just lived a wonderful week here in Roland Garros living my most beautiful emotions as a tennis player, and I let my overflow of enthusiasm express myself awkwardly towards Maly, who I know and sincerely respect.
“Nothing of all that is written was my intention.
“I am at her disposal to apologise to her in person if she so wishes. I learn every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.”
Broadcaster Eurosport said: “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.
“Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered.”
The incident drew comparisons with West Indies cricket great Chris Gayle’s behaviour towards female reporter Mel McLaughlin after a match in Australia in January, 2016.
Gayle asked McLaughlin for a date during an interview and was subsequently fined by his team.
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