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French tennis player sorry for Will Smith-style slap on rival


Agency Report

A French junior tennis player on Wednesday apologised for a delivering a Will Smith Oscars-style slap at an opponent but said his anger was sparked by insults from the crowd.

Michael Kouame, 15, slapped Raphael Nii Ankrah across the face at a tournament in Accra in Ghana as the two teenagers met at the net to exchange the customary post-match handshakes on Monday.

Kouame, who lost the tie in three sets, said on social media his outburst occurred “after an extremely frustrating and difficult match” during which he said he was insulted by the crowd who supported the local player.

“I sincerely regret my actions. During the match, I was repeatedly verbally abused by many people in the crowd, including insults against my mother, but that does not excuse my behaviour,” he said.

He also apologised to his opponent.

“I accept all the consequences from the International Tennis Federation (ITF),” he added.

“I will use this time to see how I can better handle these kinds of situations in the future, in a way that reflects my true personality.”

American actor Smith stunned the recent Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles when he mounted the stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face after the comic made a joke about his wife’s closely cropped head.