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Footage Of Tennis Player Slapping Opponent At Net Emerges As ATP Announces Stricter Disciplinary Stance

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Footage Of Tennis Player Slapping Opponent At Net Emerges As ATP Announces Stricter Disciplinary Stance

Footage has emerged of a French tennis player channelling his inner Will Smith and slapping his opponent in the face after losing a match.

The footage, which went viral across social media, shows 15-year-old Michael Kouame shaking his opponent Raphael Nii Ankrah’s hand at the net before smacking his face.

The incident led to an ugly brawl on the court, with Kouame chased away from the Accra Sports Stadium. 

Kouame was the number 1 seeded player at the ITF Juniors tournament in Ghana and lost 2-6, 7-6, 6-7 in the first round of the tournament. 

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It is not clear in the footage exactly why Kouame decided to attack his opponent.

The incident comes in the same week in where the ATP announced it would launch a review into how they will handle bad player behaviour in the future.

Several on-court incidents have tainted the beginning of 2022 and the ATP could soon up the ante when it comes to punishments.

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One problematic moment involved world No.3 Alexander Zverev who confronted the official after the match, before proceeding to smash his racquet against the umpire’s chair. 

Zverev was handed an eight-week ban and fined $25,000 after he apologised for the behaviour.

Just one week later, Nick Kyrgios was fined $33,000 for racket abuse and obscenity. He then copped another hefty fine of $47,000 just a few weeks later, following a row with umpire Carlos Bernardes.

With the number of high profile incidents taking place in a short amount of time, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi announced an internal review on how on-court behaviour would be judged.

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An internal memo read: “Effective immediately and as we head into the clay-court swing, the ATP officiating team has been directed to take a stricter stance in judging violations of the code of conduct.

"Additionally, we are also undertaking a review of the code, as well as the disciplinary processes, to ensure that it provides appropriate and up-to-date penalties for serious violations and repeat offenders."

He added: “We all have a role to play to uphold the reputation and integrity of our sport.

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"The first three months of the season have seen an unusual frequency of high-profile incidents involving unsportsmanlike conduct.

"These incidents shine a bad light on our sport. This conduct affects everyone, and sends the wrong message to our fans, especially young fans."

With the concerning footage emerging at the youth tournament, the question has to be asked whether the actions of their professional counterparts are rubbing off on the younger players. 

The ATP will be hoping these changes will put a stop to such behaviour.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Kwesi_Gibson

Topics: Australia, Tennis

Jayden Collins
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