Kouame was the top seed at the junior tournament in Ghana as the world No 606 in the ITF Junior rankings. He faced the home hope Ankrah, ranked down at No 1,708 in a tight, three-set battle won by the Ghanaian 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(5).
At the conclusion of the match, both players approached the net and shook hands when the top-seeded Frenchman suddenly slapped his opponent around the face. Ankrah backed off as the junior No 606 immediately held his hands up in what appeared to be an apology. But that was just the beginning of a clash between the players and their respective camps, with more footage later showing a brawl by the players’ benches on the court, as Kouame can be seen being chased away, still holding his racket.
The reason for his slap is not known but the tournament director has now hit out against the 15-year-old for the “barbaric” incident and confirmed has requested Kouame be disqualified from next week’s event as well as the doubles this week. “As many of you know, I am the Tournament Organizer and Tournament Director for the International Tennis Federation Junior World Tour Events in Accra, Ghana,” Roger Crawford wrote on Facebook.
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The 15-year-old is now expected to be sanctioned by the ITF for his outburst. It comes after the ATP issued the professional players with a warning for “an unusual frequency of high-profile incidents involving unsportsmanlike conduct” in the first three months of the season.