An apparent brawl erupted at a junior tennis match in Ghana on Tuesday after a French player slapped his opponent after losing in the first round of the tournament.
Michael Kouame, the 606th ranked junior player according to the International Tennis Federation, was the No. 1 seed in the Tennis Foundation Ghana Open, and faced Ghana’s Raphael Nii Ankrah in the first round.
Ankrah won the match 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 before meeting Kouame in the middle of the court. Footage of the moment shared on social media showed Kouame reaching out for a handshake before slapping Ankrah. Following footage taken appeared to show a brawl break out following the incident.
Kouame posted an apology on Instagram early Wednesday morning, saying he regretted slapping Ankrah “after an extremely frustrating and intense match.” The 15-year-old said he received continuous verbal assaults throughout the match, including ones to his mother in attendance.
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“However, that does not excuse my behavior. I would like to publicly apologize to Raphael. I was wrong and completely out of line. I accept any consequences as a result of my behavior from the ITF governing body, and will use this time to reflect on how I can better manage challenging situations like these in the future in a manner that accurately reflects my character,” Kouame wrote.
The ITF has not handed out any disciplinary actions against Kouame as of Wednesday afternoon. In a statement to USA TODAY, the ITF said it is aware of the incident and “reviewing the matter further under the code of conduct for the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors to establish if any further action is required.”
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