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Maxime Hamou banned from the French Open for groping and kissing journalist during live television interview

The Independent logo The Independent 30-05-2017 Luke Brown
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Tennis player Maxime Hamou has been told to stay away from the French Open after he groped and repeatedly tried to kiss a journalist during a live television interview.

The 21-year-old, ranked World No 287 and handed a wildcard into the Grand Slam by the organisers of the tournament, kissed Eurosport presenter Maly Thomas several times while holding her around the neck and shoulders, ignoring her attempts to duck away.

Hamou makes several lunges for Thomas, who persists with the live interview.

Hamou’s actions were immediately criticised on social media by viewers of the programme, while The French Tennis Federation (FTT) condemned his "reprehensible behaviour" and ordered an immediate investigation.

And in a short statement released to media at the tournament, the FTT confirmed that Hamou’s accreditation had been withdrawn from the rest of the tournament.

“Roland-Garros tournament organisers took the decision to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his inappropriate behaviour towards a female journalist yesterday, Monday 29 May,” the statement read.

“The FFT President has asked the disputes committee to investigate for improper conduct.”

The unsavoury incident happened as Hamou was being interviewed following his straight-sets defeat to 22nd seed Pablo Cuevas.

Fellow presenters on the Eurosport programme Avantage Leconte can be seen laughing and clapping as Hamou attempts to kiss Thomas, although the presenter herself has since commented that she found the player’s actions inappropriate.

Speaking to Huffington Post France on Monday evening, Ms Thomas said she found Hamou’s actions to be “frankly unpleasant”.

“If I had not been live on air, I would have punched him. It does not give a good picture of him, he destroys himself by doing this,” she added.

Hamou’s actions were widely criticised on social media, although the player himself has yet to comment.

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