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Benoit Paire has revealed his mental struggles playing tennis in a bubble and admitted: “I am not going to continue for long like this.”
The French world No 31 admitted he is “mentally exhausted” after missing the US Open locked in a hotel room following a positive COVID-19 test and spending another two weeks in strict quarantine before the Australian Open.
He has won only one singles match out of eight this year – and lost in just over an hour to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Acapulco on Tuesday.
During his first round defeat to Holger Rune in Santiago last week, he said in mid-match: “I take no pleasure – I just want to clear off. I really don’t give a damn.”
And Paire was fined £4,000 ($5,500) for spitting on court and tanking the final game while losing to Francis Cerundolo in Buenos Aires earlier this month.
Following his defeat to Tsitsipas, the Frenchman has told L’Equipe: “I lost in the first round – all the better. I will be able to leave quite quickly the bubble and take advantage of it for a few days before Miami.
“I look forward to be able to go to the beach and the pool. Tennis is not my priority for now. The only thing that I think about is leaving the bubble. That is the only aim that I have each tournament.
“I am not at all happy on the court. My parents say to me: ‘It is not the Benoit Paire that we know’.
“For those who love only tennis, who have only that in their heads and are going to train 24 hours a day, they are happy, the bubble changes nothing for them.
“But for those who love the atmosphere, life, freedom, going to restaurants, making the most of things, they are finding it hard. Gael (Monfils) was really sad in Australia.
“Even a guy who wins matches like Shapovalov said he is playing the minimum number of tournaments to be in the bubble as little as possible. The tour is not made for us.
“I arrive, I take a bit of money, and I leave for the next tournament: I do my job. What is surprising with the current tour is that there are lots of advantages to lose. If you win an ATP 250, you don’t pocket more than US$30,000 (£21,000). Me, with byes, I earn $10,000 (£7,000) every time I lose. Why fight like a madman to earn barely more?”
Benoit Paire destroys three rackets in meltdown at Citi Open
Paire intends to keep playing tournaments and will be in Miami next week. “I am better here than in France where you are confined at home from 6pm,” he said.
But he has stopped training between matches and working with his coach David Guez
“I don’t touch my racket at all,” he said. “It serves no purpose to pay someone on the tour right now. I am all alone, I have nothing, neither coach nor physical trainer. I am not trained, not ready to play big matches.
“If tennis has become this, that’s life, but it’s not my life. I am not going to continue for long like this.”
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