A New Zealand journalist is facing a possible censure from Australian Open officials after a string of run-ins with Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, the latest coming after her first-round win in Melbourne on Monday.
James McOnie, who works for the spoof TV sports show "A Crowd Goes Wild," first started showing up at Sharapova's press conferences during the ASB Classic in New Zealand earlier this month, asking odd-ball questions like did she need a personal shopper because he had impeccable taste.
In Melbourne on Saturday, he asked if she frequented a club for "hot Russians" with compatriot Anna Kournikova, the Australian Associated Press reported.
Sharapova recognized him on that occasion and said, "You're the guy from New Zealand, huh? Oh, God, you're stalking me!"
"It's not stalking if you love someone," McOnie replied jokingly, to which Sharapova offered, "It can be slightly, trust me."
McOnie made his latest appearance Monday following Sharapova's first-round win over Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn, where he unveiled a sign reading "I am not a stalker."
“I don’t know why you’re here today,” Sharapova said. “That shouldn’t have happened. You even have a sign. Oh, goodness, that’s wrong."