'Utter disgrace': Outrage over tennis villain's 'gross' on-court act

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Benoit Paire, pictured here after spitting on the court during an ugly row with the umpire.
Benoit Paire spat on the court during an ugly row with the umpire at the Argentina Open. Image: Tennis TV

Benoit Paire is once again at the centre of controversy in the tennis world after he spat on the court in an ugly meltdown at the Argentina Open on Thursday.

The notorious Frenchman was penalised a point for spitting before he 'tanked' his final service game in a fiery second round clash against local favourite Francisco Cerundolo.

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'HARD TO FATHOM': Tennis world stunned by 'shocking' scenes

The World No.29, seeded third in Buenos Aires, lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 against the 22-year-old World No.137, crashing out of the tournament in disgrace.

He was left incensed when the umpire failed to overturn an ace from Cerundolo in the second set.

The World No.29 asked the chair umpire to come down an inspect the mark, with Paire believing the ball had landed wide of the centre service line.

But he blew up deluxe when the umpire told him the mark was on the line.

Paire spat angrily on the mark and shouted obscenities before he was given a warning by Spanish umpire Nacho Forcadell.

Although he won the next point to break back, Paire was docked a point a couple of games later after again spitting and arguing with Forcadell.

Paire called for the tournament supervisor, Jorge Mandl, who tried to calm the Frenchman to no avail.

Benoit Paire, pictured here during his loss to Francisco Cerundolo at the Argentina Open.
Benoit Paire looks on during his loss to Francisco Cerundolo at the Argentina Open. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

Tennis world in shock over 'gross' scenes

Ever more mistakes crept into the riled Frenchman's game and at 5-1 down in the third and final set, he appeared to give up and 'tanked'.

Two mistakes left him trailing 0-30, after which he served two wild double-faults, seemingly deliberately.

He even hit his final serve of the match while a ballboy was still on court recovering his first service ball.

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Fans and commentators were shocked by what they'd seen.

“This is gross," wrote American journalist Ben Rothenberg.

Commentator Jose Morgado wrote: “This is too much.”

“No words for Paire. My god. Big fine expected. This is a terrible, terrible look for the sport.”

Soon after the match, Paire left a message on Twitter showing his career earnings of more than $8.5 million with the words: "In the end it's useful to be useless.

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Unfortunately its not the first time Paire has drawn the ire of tennis fans and commentators.

Last month he took an angry swipe at Australian Open organisers, describing quarantine conditions in Melbourne as "shameful".

He's also been criticised a number of times for his behaviour on court.

with AFP

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