French maverick Benoit Paire had another meltdown as he spat on court after arguing about a line call, and tanked the final game of the match to crash out of the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires.
Seeded third, Paire went down 6-4, 3-6, 1-6 to world number 137 Francisco Cerundolo in the second round of the Argentina Open.
Though he started confidently, the 31-year-old had one of his signature temper tantrums at 0-2 in the second set. Paire had a heated argument with the chair umpire over a line call. He kept pointing at the mark on clay but failed to convince the umpire.
Benoit Paire complains about a mark, spits on it, gets a code violation, then proceeds to take all the anger out on an overhead and continues to complain as he runs to the chair 😂 #abnamrowtt pic.twitter.com/tcQpj502uB
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) March 4, 2021
He then spat at the mark and was heard shouting obscenities. The Frenchman was handed a code violation. Paire got a second code violation when, later in the set, he again spat and argued with the umpire, thus receiving a point penalty.
Serving at 5-1 down in the third set, Paire made two seemingly deliberate wild double-faults to lose the match, tapping his last serve well wide while a ball-kid was still on the court retrieving his previous serve.
After the match, he posted a screenshot of his career winnings of $8.5m (£6.1m) and wrote: “In the end it’s worth it to suck.”
Paire is known for his temperamental behavior on court and things seem to have taken a turn for the worse since the Tour resumed in August after a six-month hiatus.
Last year, he admitted that he had played at the Hamburg Open despite testing positive for the virus.
Finalement ça vaut le coup d’être nul 😘🖕🏻 pic.twitter.com/PbWsGQLa1A
— paire benoit (@benoitpaire) March 4, 2021
He had also supported fellow ‘bad boys’ Nick Kyrgios and Fabio Fognini in column in December.
“There’s a lot of hypocrisy in this sport,” he wrote.
“If you thought your opponent was lousy, why not say so? Even if you’re going to get nailed for it… It’s not a lack of respect, it’s an observation on that particular day. It doesn’t mean we think the player is always terrible. Maybe next week the very same player will beat you.”
“In my opinion, that’s why guys like Nick Kyrgios and Fabio Fognini are doing a lot of good for tennis. I like their insanity,” Paire added.