By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Another day, another controversy for France’s Benoit Paire —this time at Wimbledon.
The World No. 46 Paire found himself being reprimanded by the chair umpire and the crowd during his straight sets loss to No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman.
Schwartzman easily won 6-3, 6-4 6-0 in a first round match that resumed the third set on Tuesday after having being suspended yesterday due to rain.
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) June 29, 2021
Paire showed little interest or effort early during the third set. That earned him a code violation for lack of effort from chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani who told Paire that he must compete at his highest level.
Later, someone in the crowd heckled Paire saying to him “You’re wasting everyone’s time.”
Paire ended up winning only five points in the final set before exiting the court.
In his post-match press conference, Paire showed little remorse for his performance or having earned the ire of the crowd.
“I do not care about the people,” Paire said. “I play for me and that is it. I do not play for people.”
Paire is no stranger to showing a lack of effort or interest in his matches of late, especially since pro tennis resumed during the pandemic. A former top 20 player, Paire has only won two matches out of 19 this year.
Paire has been upfront about his displeasure with having to live in a “bubble” during each tournament and adhering to strict protocols. His recent behavior and comments forced the French Tennis Federation to ban him from the country’s Olympic team.
“This thing I don’t like is how they treat us, like stay in bubble and everybody is out in the city,” Paire said. “Mentally it is not easy for me since we start again. I said to the press every time with the bubble it is not for me.
“I try my best when I am in the bubble, but for me playing tennis like this is impossible. So I try my best. It is tough for me.”
Though out of the tournament, Paire is expected to receive additional fines for his behavior during the first round match. ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert said the ATP should have sanctioned Paire earlier in an effort to prevent this type of apathetic effort.
Photo credit: Getty