Dominic Thiem isn’t too amused by Benoit Paire’s rants against the tour and said that if he lacked the motivation to play, he should ‘stay at home.’
The Frenchman has struggled to cope with the conditions on the tennis tour – living in a bio-secure bubble and playing in front of empty stands. Paire said the tour had become ‘sad, boring and ridiculous,’ and that he didn’t care if he won or lost.
The callousness has been evident in his results. The 31-year-old has played nine tournaments this year, so far, and registered only one win in singles.
@ThiemDomi i had to work to take some holidays 🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️ 🏄🏻♂️ happy to see you back on tour 🙌🏼 I don’t have any problems with what you said, everybody can think and act differently ✔️
— paire benoit (@benoitpaire) May 3, 2021
The French Tennis Federation made him pay for his outbursts by barring him from the Olympics team.
“I don’t understand. If you don’t want to play, you stay at home. If you are not motivated, nobody forces you to play,” Thiem said in an interview with El Pais.
“I think what I did was better: I took some time, I cancelled my participation in three or four tournaments, and at some point the motivation returns.
“Once you hit the track, I think you should be able to compete, even if you are not 100 percent. But if you don’t feel like playing, you better take a vacation.”
Thiem admitted that the situation around the world was not ideal and had himself said that all the ‘good things’ about playing tennis had been taken away due to the pandemic.
“It is not easy, of course. It is difficult for everyone because we are used to playing with crowded stands and to travel freely from one city to another without difficulties,” the Austrian explained.
“Now we play in empty enclosures and every trip is a complication. Life in the bubble is not fun at all. I understand that there are many players who find it difficult, but I also think that this will not last forever, that at some point things will return to normal.”
Thiem hasn’t been the same player since winning his first major at US Open 2020 either. He lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open and 2021 Australian Open.
He will be competing at the Madrid Masters this week after taking a break to recharge. It’s his first tournament since losing in the second round of Dubai Open in March.
Paire has responded to Thiem’s criticism, saying he had to earn his holiday.
“I had to work to take some holidays,” the Frenchman tweeted. “Happy to see you back on tour. I don’t have any problems with what you said, everybody can think and act differently.”