Petulant Paire throws in the racquet, twice

Miffed at being made to play on the opening day of the Rome Masters, Benoit Paire seemingly put in no effort in his 6-2, 6-1 first round loss

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Benoit Paire

Mercurial Frenchman Benoit Paire’s woeful run after returning from lockdown has extended, after he lost out 6-2, 6-1 in the opening round of the ATP 1000 Masters event in Rome, to Jannick Sinner.

The latest loss however, saw the World No 24 putting in little effort, but instead engaging in arguments with the chair umpire.

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Paire’s return to the tour after resumption began in a first round walkover to Borna Coric at the relocated Cincinnati Masters. A week later though, he tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced to withdraw from the US Open, but was also kept in isolation in New York and not allowed to train.

In Rome, he had allegedly asked organisers to schedule his match on Tuesday rather than the opening day (Monday) to allow him a day of practice. That request however, was denied as he was scheduled to play Italian teenager Sinner.

“Thank you @InteBNLdItalia,” he wrote in a Tweet.

“I made only one request that is to play Tuesday to have one more day of training with what happened to me in NEW YORK and as I play an Italian you put me on Monday !! #super#BRAVO @atptour #goodjob #notfair.”

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Clearly miffed, Paire put in little effort to play but instead spent most of this time complaining. Twice, in the second set, he flung his racquet into the air in frustration, almost hitting the chair umpire on the second occasion.

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Throughout the match, he had verbal exchanges with the umpire but was only issued one warning.

In one service game, he was also called for a foot-fault and even went ahead with his serve despite Sinner not yet in position.

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And when Sinner was serving for the match, Paire looked like he was deliberately hitting the ball straight into the net. On the one point that he did get back into play, he didn’t move quickly to get back in position to play Sinner’s next shot.

“I had not played in 10 days, staying in my room,” Paire said after the match.

“It was a good training, I’m happy I played one hour. I even played one hour and four minutes. I’m happy I hung on for 1:04. I gave what I could. Jannik played very well.

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“The result does not really matter. I still have the doubles. I will try to entertain myself with Nico (Nicolas Mahut) and try to win a match.”

Paire, who has won just four games in two matches since the tour reopened will play his doubles match on Tuesday, against third seeds Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot.

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