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Benoit Paire hits out at ‘sad, boring and ridiculous’ ATP Tour after having to play matches in empty stadiums


Benoit Paire has hit out at the ATP Tour, saying: “Tennis [has] become a tasteless job…I need time to adapt to this pseudo ATP circuit but I will make the efforts to try to just rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis”

Last Updated: 13/03/21 10:45am

Benoit Paire has hit out at ‘ridiculous’ ATP Tour (Photo by: Daniel Bockwoldt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Frenchman Benoit Paire has hit out at a “sad, boring and ridiculous” ATP Tour following strict COVID-19 protocols and having to play matches in empty stadiums.

Paire, ranked 29 in the world, said the sport had become a “tasteless job” after the professional circuit was shut down for several months last year before tournament organisers set up biosecure bubbles for players and support staff while keeping fans away from stadiums.

Barring the swing in Australia in February, tournaments continue to be played in front of a handful of fans at most.

The lack of spectators has affected players who thrive on a febrile atmosphere, while also impacting tournament finances.

“The ATP circuit has become sad, boring and ridiculous,” the 31-year-old wrote on Instagram.

“I know you are going to say you don’t realize how lucky you are… but playing in closed stadiums without any atmosphere [isn’t] why I play. Having to stay at a hotel or club and be forbidden to go out without risking a fine, where is the pleasure of travelling?

“Tennis [has] become a tasteless job…I need time to adapt to this pseudo ATP circuit but I will make the efforts to try to just rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis.”

Paire made the headlines after crashing out of the Argentina Open when he appeared to tank his final service game and being docked a point for spitting, said results are the last thing on his mind ahead of his trip to Acapulco and Miami.

“My goal will be to have a smile and enjoy hitting a ball,” he said. “Whether I win or lose, I could not care less.”

Paire has had a number of indiscretions through his career, including being kicked out of the 2016 Rio Olympics by the French delegation for spending too much time away from the athletes’ village.

After being knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open earlier this year, Paire launched a tirade at organisers, accusing them of “shameful” treatment of players during quarantine ahead of the Grand Slam.

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