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French Open player Maxime Hamou banned for kissing reporter on TV

Last Updated May 31, 2017 9:59 AM EDT

PARIS -- Tennis player Maxime Hamou's French Open credential was revoked because he grabbed a reporter and kissed her on the neck during a live TV interview at the tournament.

The French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday it was punishing the 21-year-old French qualifier "following his inappropriate behaviour towards a female journalist" a day earlier, when he lost in the first round at Roland Garros.

The FFT said it would investigate the matter further.

Hamou's behavior also caught the attention of French politicians.

On Twitter, Sports Minister Laura Flessel called what Hamou did to Eurosport TV's Maly Thomas an "assault." Cecile Duflot, a member of parliament, tweeted: "He kisses her by force, she tries to get away, he holds her by the neck and everyone... laughs #tired."

France's Maxime Hamou returns the ball to Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas during their tennis match at Roland Garros at the French Open on May 29, 2017, in Paris.

France's Maxime Hamou returns the ball to Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas during their tennis match at Roland Garros at the French Open on May 29, 2017, in Paris.

Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Flessel and Duflot also criticized 1988 French Open runner-up Henri Leconte and other in-studio guests who laughed at and applauded Hamou's on-air actions.

"A live assault is not funny," Flessel wrote. "We should never let this happen, and never trivialize such acts."

Hamou, who is ranked 287th, posted a statement on Instagram on Tuesday in which he apologized to Thomas "if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview."

He wrote, in French, that he let his "excess of enthusiasm express itself awkwardly toward Maly, who I know and sincerely respect."

Hamou added that he would offer an apology in-person if Thomas wants one.

Eurosport said in a statement that it regretted what had happened.

"The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way," the statement said. "Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered. We apologise to any viewers who may have been affected."