Benoît Paire has been “barred” from representing France at the Tokyo Olympics. The Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) has decided to exclude the 31-year-old from selection. This is not the first time that Paire has had a run in with his own Tennis Federation.
Benoît Paire won’t represent France in the Tokyo Olympics
During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Frenchman was unceremoniously thrown out of event. After losing in the second round of the singles, the FFT sent Paire packing. The then-head of the French Tennis Federation accused the 31-year-old of flouting the rules.
According to the FFT, the main reason for the expulsion from Rio was due to Paire spending too much time away from the athletes village. The 31-year-old is renown for being a bit of a hothead. Often losing his temper on the court, smashing racquets and on occasions spitting on the court.
Australian Open 2021
At the Australian Open that went ahead with severe COVID-19 protcols in place, Paire lost in the first round. The 31-year-old more or less blamed the organizers for his defeat. The Frenchman was one of the players forced into hard quarantine, after a positive case on the flight over.
Paire was not happy about not being able to practice and prepare as usual. However, blaming the organizers for something outside their control was never a good move. The 31-year-old suggested that the only reason the tournament went ahead was for money, as the Australian Open would have made a huge loss if the event was cancelled or postponed.
The fiery Frenchman was once again in trouble in the second round. Paire believed an ace was actually out, and asked the chair umpire to come down. The umpire did not agree with Paire, and upheld the original decision. The 31-year-old spat on the mark he believed it to be and shouted obscenities.
Paire received a warning for his conduct after this outburst. After breaking back to get back on serve, the Frenchman again argued with the umpire and once more spat on the court. The supervisor was called; however, they were unsuccessful in calming down the 31-year-old.
The Frenchman’s game was now spiraling out of control. With the score at 1-5 and Paire serving, he appeared to “give up” and “tanked” the last game.
Gilles Moretton, FFT president, stated ,”His deeply inappropriate behavior since the start of the year seriously undermines the values of sport, the image of tennis and is totally incompatible with the Olympic spirit.”
The statement issued to the press added “It’s the duty of each player…to respect the values of our sport and it is up to them to be exemplary on and off the court, especially vis-a-vis the young people of our country.”
The decision to exclude Paire was taken after a proposal by technical director Nicolas Escude and in consultation with Davis Cup skipper Sebastien Grosjean.
Main Photo from Getty.