'Not my priority': Fresh anger over Benoit Paire's 'pathetic' display

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Benoit Paire's stated disinterest in reaching ATP finals or making deep tournament runs has sparked outrage. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Benoit Paire's stated disinterest in reaching ATP finals or making deep tournament runs has sparked outrage. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Benoit Paire has admitted the lifestyle of travelling between bubbles for ATP tournaments has affected his desire to compete, saying advancing to later rounds each tournament was 'not my priority'.

The French world No.31 has been defeated in seven of his eight singles matches in 2021, including a first-round exit at the Australian Open and two ATP Cup losses.

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His lone victory in 2021 was a straight sets win over world No.1165 Nicolas Jarry in Cordoba, with Paire admitting to French newspaper L'Equipe that his desire to compete had waned amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I lost in the first round, so much the better: I will be able to get out of the bubble fairly quickly and enjoy a few days before Miami," he explained.

"Tennis is not my priority for the moment. Getting out of the bubble is the only goal I have at every tournament."

Paire's recent performances have drawn a significant amount of controversy, with his performance against Stefanos Tsitsipas in a straight sets loss at the Mexico Open labelled 'pathetic' by high-profile tennis writer Jose Morgado.

He also came under fire after tanking the end of his Argentina Open loss to Francisco Cerundolo, during which he spit on the court after an argument with the umpire.

The 31-year-old said lowered prizemoney for lower-ranked ATP tournaments had also removed some of the incentive to vie for wins.

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"I arrive, I take some money and I go to the next tournament: I do my job," he said.

"There, if you win an ATP 250, you only pocket $30,000. I took $10,000 each time by losing straight (sets). Why rip yourself off like a nut to win barely more?"

Benoit Paire again voices ATP frustrations

The French star, who boasts more than $11 million in career earning, has openly voiced his frustration with the way tennis is being played as the global coronavirus pandemic continues.

After losing to Danish teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune at the Chile Open, which dropped his record for the year to 1-6, Paire took to Instagram to vent his frustration.

Paire said playing in front of no or limited crowds was sucking the fun out of the game.

His post, which was written in French, added that being able to play in front of crowds was one of the biggest reasons for Paire's passion for tennis.

French tennis player Benoit Paire says tennis has become a 'tasteless job' without crowds at events. (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
French tennis player Benoit Paire says tennis has become a 'tasteless job' without crowds at events. (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
French tennis player Benoit Paire says tennis has become a 'tasteless job' without crowds at events. (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
French tennis player Benoit Paire says tennis has become a 'tasteless job' without crowds at events. (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

“Having to stay either at the hotel or at the tennis club and be forbidden to go out on pain of exclusion and a fine, or is the pleasure of traveling?

“Tennis [has] become a tasteless job ... So yes I need time to adapt to this pseudo ATP circuit but I will make the efforts to try to just rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis.

“I am not talking about results I’m going to go play Acapulco and Miami after thinking a lot, and my goal will be just to have a smile on the court and enjoy hitting a ball, that I win yes that I lose I really don’t care.”

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