'Cannot do that': Benoit Paire at centre of ugly Wimbledon furore

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Benoit Paire was unhappy with the chair umpire after being given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.
French player Benoit Paire argued with the chair umpire and was heckled by the Wimbledon crowd after being given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. Picture: beIN Sports

Frenchman Benoit Paire was heckled by the Wimbledon crowd and officially warned by the chair umpire for not giving a good enough effort during his first round defeat.

The controversial world No. 46 was bundled out of Wimbledon in straight sets by Argentinian star Diego Schwartzman, 6-3 6-4 6-0.

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The one-sided third set was where the trouble began, with Paire seemingly uninterested in putting up much of a fight against his ninth-seed rival.

Paire has emerged as a divisive figure over the last 18 months, openly admitting to giving poor effort in first round matches to score an easy payday.

The 32-year-old was also kicked off the French Olympic team ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, after FFT President Gilles Moretton described his conduct as 'deeply inappropriate' and 'incompatible' with the Olympic spirit of competition.

Back at Wimbledon, with the score at 5-0 and 30-0, Paire was handed a code violation by umpire Mohamed Lahyani for unsporting conduct — triggering a heated response.

"Call the physio, I have pain," he declared as he went to his chair.

The umpire was unmoved: "You cannot play like this. I’m not going to call the physio for this. You have to show more sportsmanship."

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Paire hit back by asking how many forehands he had put in the net in the first two sets. The umpire reminded him that he had to try to do his best.

One member of the crowd on Court Two shouted "You're wasting everybody's time".

The match over, Paire gathered his things and walked off the court.

"I do not care about the people," he told reporters in response to the heckling. "I play for me and that is it. I do not play for people."

Benoit Paire's latest tennis indiscretion at Wimbleon

The Frenchman has found the going difficult since the ATP brought in strict guidelines to protect players from contracting the coronavirus.

After losing to Danish teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune at the Chile Open back in March, which dropped his record for the year to 1-6 at the time, 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.

Benoit Paire's hot-headed tendencies have frequently landed the French player in hot water. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Benoit Paire's hot-headed tendencies have frequently landed the French player in hot water. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP 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?" he wrote.

“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.

Paire was also fiercely criticised in tennis circles after spitting on the court during the Argentina Open earlier in the year.

Renowned as a hothead, Paire has had several indiscretions through his career.

He was kicked out of the Rio Olympics in 2016 by the French delegation for spending too much time away from the athletes' village.

After being knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open, Paire launched a tirade at organisers, accusing them of "shameful" treatment of players during quarantine before the grand slam.

With Reuters

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