Michael Kouame, the French teenage tennis player who slapped his Ghanaian counterpart Richard Nii Ankrah has been suspended.
The Executive Board of the Ghana Tennis Federation decided after reviewing Monday’s incident.
The French top seed, ranked 606 in the ITF Junior rankings, lost the opening set 6-2 to Nii Ankrah. However, Kouame would not surrender meekly and rallied back to take the second set via a tie-break, setting up a tense finale.
In the final set, Nii Ankrah, ranked 1,708 in the world, kept his composure to take the tie-breaker. He won the match 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(5).
The unfortunate incident
However, the 15year old French took out his frustrations on Nii Ankrah, slapping him at the net, as he approached for the traditional hand shake.
Players, guardians and officials on the court rushed to the separate the pair before it could escalate.
Report and suspension.
Shortly after the match, the the incident was reported by Tennis Ghana Foundation, organizers of the tournament. The Executive Board of the Ghana Tennis Federation interrogated the facts of the case and suspended him accordingly.
Board member at the Tennis Federation, Henry Boni Quarshie confirmed the decision to Asaase Sports.
”The player in question has been suspended. We have reviewed the unfortunate incident and per the tournament regulations, taken several decisions. The first is that he will default on the doubles tournament he registered for; which in tennis language means he is suspended and will not take part in the tournament. As for the singles event, he has been eliminated so I guess that takes care of itself” he said.
He also confirmed there could be further sanctions.
”The competition is held in two phases and many players like to compete in both. Michael Kouame is one of such players and he registered and was accepted for both. However, after his conduct on Monday, the Board wants to review his registration and eligibility for next week’s tournament. We’ll meet on Tuesday to discuss matters relating to the event. After the meeting, we’ll communicate whether or not his admission for the tournament has been withdrawn or not” Boni Quarshie told Asaase Sports.
Meanwhile, Kouame’s mother has apologized to Nii Ankrah for her son’s misconduct.
Before the Federation’s verdict was communicated on Tuesday, she pledge her support again for the ITF sanctions that would be handed to his son to serve as a deterrent to other players.