Juniors Tennis Player Slaps Opponent After Losing in ITF TournamentApril 5, 2022
After a tennis match in the first round of an International Tennis Federation juniors tournament in Accra, Ghana, on Monday, the losing player appeared to slap his opponent.
According to Jenna Lemoncelli of the New York Post, 15-year-old Michael Kouame of France met Ghana’s Raphael Nii Ankrah at center court for a handshake where he slapped him in the face. Multiple people then appeared to get involved and a fight ensued.
The incident occurred not long after the ATP announced there would be stricter penalties for on-court misconduct. However, the ATP does not oversee the Kouame or Ankrah or the tournament where the slap occurred.
"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," ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in an email on Monday. "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."
Kouame, who is ranked No. 589 in the ITF junior rankings, was the No. 1 seed in the tournament but lost to Ankrah in three sets 6-2, 6-7, 7-6.
Kouame's actions did not go unpunished. According to GhanaWeb, the tournament's disciplinary committee disqualified him from the World Tennis Tour J5 and JR tournaments.
The 16-year-old Ankrah, who is ranked No. 1688 on the ITF junior rankings, advanced to face Ghana's Ishmael Nii Nortey Dowuona in the second round. He also participated in a doubles match on Tuesday against Italy’s Davide Brunetti and France’s Mickael Kaouk.