Benoit Paire Excluded From Olympics For ‘Deeply Inappropriate Behaviour’ - UBITENNIS
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Benoit Paire Excluded From Olympics For ‘Deeply Inappropriate Behaviour’

A committee has concluded that the French Player has ‘undermined the value of sport.’

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French world No.35 Benoit Paire will not be allowed to play in the Olympic Games this year following an investigation conducted by the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

 

The national body has deemed the former top 20 player ineligible for the Olympic qualification criteria following a series of incidents he has been involved in this season. A vocal critic of the Tour restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paire has described the situation as ‘sad, boring and ridiculous.’ Openly admitting that he wants to get outside of staying in a ‘Tour bubble’ as quickly as possible. At the Argentina Open he was accused of tanking during one of his matches which he also spat on the court following an argument over a line call.

The behaviour of the Frenchman has prompted concern from the FFT who looked into the case. Paire has since written a letter to his national federation apologising for the incidents however he continues to be caught up in controversy. At last week’s Monte Carlo Masters he said he didn’t care about losing to Jordan Thompson in the first round and described playing without fans watching like a ‘cemetery.’

“Honestly I don’t give a sh*t about this match,” he told reporters.
Playing in a cemetery like this, it’s just not possible anymore. All the players think it. I am perhaps the only one to say it.
“Tennis is no longer bringing me anything good. I’ve got no more spark.”

It was the Monte Carlo incident which proved to be the last straw and triggered action from the Federation with the proposal being backed by Nicolas Escudé and Davis Cup captain Sébastien Grosjean. In a statement the FFT confirmed their decision was prompted by Paire’s ‘inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and repetitive behaviours.’

“In terms of responsibility, for our sport and for France, on the proposal of the DTN (Direction Technique Nationale) and in consultation with Sébastien Grosjean, the Comex has decided to exclude Benoît Paire from the future list of players who will represent the FFT and France this summer in Tokyo,” FFT President Gilles Moretton said in a statement.
“His behaviour deeply moved since the beginning of the year seriously undermines the values ​​of sport, like tennis and are totally incompatible with the Olympic spirit. I repeat, it is the duty of each player and of each high-level player must respect the values ​​of our sport and it is up to them to be exemplary on and off the court, in particular vis-à-vis the young people of our country.”

Officials confirmed that they will provide support to Paire if he would like to receive any. Although they didn’t elaborate on what that could entail.

Paire played in the 2016 Olympics where he lost in the second round to Fabio Fognini. Although he was later issued with a provisional suspension for ‘damaging’ the image of the FFT after being booted off the French team for “flouting the rules.”

The 31-year-old is France’s fourth highest ranked player on the ATP Tour. Ahead of him is Adrian Mannarino (No.34), Ugo Humbert (No.31) and Gael Monfils (No.15).

Davis Cup

Canada Says There Are No Clear Favorite To Win Davis Cup After Reaching Final Four 

After suffering a surprise opening defeat, Canada managed to find their footing to keep its chance of winning their first Davis Cup title alive in Malaga. 

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Image via Kosmos media

This year’s Davis Cup champions will be decided with the help of a ‘little bit of luck and execution,’ according to the captain of the Canadian team. 

 

Canada secured their place in the semi-finals on Thursday by edging their way past Germany 2-1 after battling back from behind. The tie began with a shock loss for Denis Shapovalov who fell 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), to Jan-Lennard Struff who is currently ranked more than 100 places lower than him in the ATP rankings. However, the North American nation managed to level the tie with the help of Felix Auger-Aliassime who beat Oscar Otte 7-6(1), 6-4. 

With all to play for, the tie was decided by a critical doubles match that saw Shapovalov return to the court alongside Vasek Pospisil. Their opponents were the formidable Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puertz who had an 8-0 record in Davis Cup matches when playing together and had clinched the winning point for their team on seven occasions. The German duo started the stronger before Shapovalov and Pospisil battled back to prevail 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Sending Canada into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time since 2019. 

“Today (Thursday) was a perfect example of Davis Cup at its finest,” said Canadian captain Frank Dancevic. 
“It was amazing to watch. They showed so much heart going into the match. At the beginning of the match, it was tough to find the rhythm. But once they found the rhythm and once they got in the groove, they played lights out. They played amazing. Took control of the match.” He added.

Canada made their Davis Cup debut in 1913 but they are yet to win the title, finishing runners-up on two occasions. The last time they reached the final was three years ago when they were beaten by Spain in Madrid. 

Standing in their way of another place in the final this year is Italy who defeated the USA 2-1 in their quarter-final tie on Thursday. The other section of the draw will see Croatia take on Australia. Canada might be the only team in the quartet yet to win the trophy but Dencevic believes there is no clear favourite in this year’s tournament. 

“I don’t think right now everybody is playing incredible tennis, and there is so much that can happen in three matches with singles and doubles and there is so much diversity that I wouldn’t say there is a favourite team right now.” He said. 
“Out of the four teams, everybody is really good. We have to put ourselves in the position to win. Everybody’s going to be in the position to win. It’s just about who is going to execute at certain moments in the matches, and it will come down to a little bit of luck and a little bit of execution, but I think it’s very even throughout the field. We are all amazing teams going into the semis.”

Canada’s Semi-final clash with Italy will take place on Saturday. Croatia will play Australia later today. 

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Fed Cup

Australia Ousts Great Britain In Thriller To Reach BJK Cup Final

The host nation narrowly missed out on a place in the final but they have plenty of positives to motivate them for the future.

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The British Billie Jean King Cup team (image via LTA Twitter)

Australia has denied Great Britain an opportunity to play in their first team final since 1981 after prevailing 2-1 in an epic tussle at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow. 

 

The gripping tie was level at 1-1 after each team won one of the singles matches, paving the way for a winner-takes-all doubles encounter. The British team featured Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls who were both making their debut in the competition this week. Their opponents were former Grand Slam winner Sam Stosur and world No.10 doubles player Storm Sanders.

Despite the gap in experience between the two pairings, there was almost nothing to distinguish between the two throughout the majority of their encounter which lasted more than two hours. Nevertheless, the Australian duo held their nerve to seal a 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 10-6, victory to send them into the final. 

“That was amazing. it could have gone either way and credit to the GB girls they played really well. They will be here again for sure.” Sanders said during her on-court interview. 

It is only the second time in the past 30 years that Australia has progressed to the final after 2019. Before playing Great Britain, they also defeated Belgium and Slovakia in the group stages. 

“A real credit to the four players out on court that was pretty inspirational, so I hope it inspires a lot more of you out there to play doubles. It was really such a high level you couldn’t pick it in the end.” Australian captain Alicia Molik commented on the doubles match. 

Earlier in the day, Australia got off to the perfect start with Sanders edging her way past Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(3). However, the host nation battled back with an impressive performance from Harriet Dart who defeated Ajla Tomljanović 7-6(3), 6-2. A player who has reached the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year. 

“The Billie Jean King Cup just brings the best out of me. I love playing in front of a home crowd, and I feel like I have really been feeding off my teammates and everyone here. It just makes me really want to do really well.” Said Dart. 

The performances from the underdogs provide Britain with plenty of hope for the future. The nation lost in qualifying earlier this year but managed to enter the finals via wildcard due to the competition being held in their country. 

“I’m just gutted for everyone right now but also I think we have to try and keep things in perspective,” British captain Keothavong told reporters. 
“What a fantastic week it has been for the team. I don’t know how many people gave us much of a chance really to even come through the group stages.’
“It really is a fantastic achievement to reach the semifinals but we felt we could have gone further. That’s why it hurts so much.
“It’s going to hurt the players for a while but they’ll (the team) get over it. They can still hold their heads high because they have shown what they are capable of under a huge amount of pressure to deliver, and in the end, it came down to a few points.”

Australia will next play either Switzerland or the Czech Republic in the final. They are seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 1974.

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Fed Cup

Great Britain Looking To Overcome ‘Experienced’ Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Semis

Great Britain will play their first Billie Jean King Cup semi-final for 40 years when they play Australia on Saturday.

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(@the_LTA - Twitter)

Great Britain plays their first Billie Jean King Cup semi-final for 40 years when they face Australia in the last four in Glasgow on Saturday.

 

It was a heroic effort from Great Britain on Thursday as they battled past Spain to reach the last four at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Having lost to Kazakhstan 2-1 in their opening match, they knew they had to beat Spain 3-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.

But step up Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and the doubles team of Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett, as they pulled off a massive upset to seal a place in the semi-finals.

Speaking after the win against Spain, Great Britain’s captain Anne Keothavong praised the doubles pairing of Barnett and Nicholls, “It’s down to their doubles win on Tuesday night (in a 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan) that kept us in this competition,” Keothavong was quoted by tennis365 as saying.

“I think if you watch that match, it’s hard not to feel the joy and the camaraderie between the players. It really truly was infectious.

“I think also Liv and Liss bring something different to the team which we haven’t had before. It’s not just the fact that they specialise in doubles but they have had a life outside of tennis.”

Now Great Britain look to repeat the success of the 1981 side as they look to beat Australia and reach the final.

It will be no easy task though with an in-form Ajla Tomljanovic, Ellen Perez, Storm Sanders and Sam Stosur standing in their way.

Keothavong admitted it will be a tough match but also noted that momentum is on Great Britain’s side, “They are a tough team,” Britain’s captain admitted.

“They are a team with plenty of experience in this competition. But look, we have to believe, and we’re on a high at the moment.”

That semi-final is the first semi-final before reigning champions Switzerland face the Czech Republic at 16:00 GMT.

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