SEE IT: Tennis player slaps winning opponent across the face as they shake hands over the net in Ghana￼
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Will Smith redux?
Perhaps taking a page from the actor’s book, 15-year-old Michael Kouame of France slapped winning opponent Raphael Nii Ankrah across the face as they shook hands over the net during the TGF ITF junior world tour at the sports stadium in Accra, Ghana.
Kouame walked up to the net Monday as if for a normal, convivial handshake, but it turned dark mid-clasp as he brought his other hand up without warning and landed it squarely on Ankrah’s cheek.
While no direct link was made to the globally witnessed smack that Will Smith delivered across the face of Chris Rock at the Oscars, the parallel was unmistakable. The globe has been abuzz about the slap that was not only heard around the world but also clearly seen around the world.
Yelps could be heard from the audience as Ankrah recoiled in shock. The slap sparked an outright brawl between the two camps, CBS Sports and other outlets reported.
Kouame came into the tournament as the number one seed, then lost to Ankrah in three sets. Ankrah triumphed 6-2, 6-7, 7-6. He will face Nii Nortey Dowuona, also from Ghana, in the second round.
Kouame, ITF Junior World No. 1688, is scheduled to return to the court for his doubles tournament, though it was not clear if he would be reprimanded, CBS Sports said.