Benoit Paire's Approach To Life On Tour During A Pandemic Is Like No Other - UBITENNIS
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Benoit Paire’s Approach To Life On Tour During A Pandemic Is Like No Other

The French tennis star views playing matches behind close doors as just a ‘workout’ and is undeterred by his series of defeats or criticism from others in recent months.

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MUTUA MADRID OPEN DE TENIS 2021. Benoit Paire of France vs Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece

It has become a weekly occurrence that France’s Benoit Paire finds himself tangled up in some sort of controversy and the Italian Open is no different.

 

The former top 20 star took to the court on Monday and faced home player Stefano Travaglia who he lost to in straight sets. Besides yet another loss on the Tour, Paire received a code violation for ‘unprofessional conduct.’ After arguing with umpire Carlos Bernardes over a first serve being called out, which the TV hawk-eye later confirmed, Paire decided to take a photo of the court marking. Even after the match he invited Travaglia to come and look at the mark, which he didn’t.

There is never a dull moment when it comes to the life of the Frenchman on Tour who has opened up about his personal struggles with bubble life. However, he took a swipe at organisers in Rome for another reason.

“I got the vaccine two days ago and asked to play as late as possible because I couldn’t arrive until last night (Sunday at 10 p.m.). In the end, they put me today (Monday) at ten in the morning, I could not even hit the ball once here, I could not train the last days,” L’Equipe quoted Paire as telling reporters on Monday.
“I still have a little pain from my shot from the vaccine, it’s a bit heavy to lift my arm. I knew it. I did what I could.”

Continuing his monologue about life on the Tour, Paire openly admitted that he tries his very best when playing in front of fans. This year’s Italian Open is taking place behind closed doors until the third round. Then in agreement with local health officials the tournament is allowed to welcome up to 25% of their capacity.

The result is not the most important, the important thing is to spend a little time on the court. As I have always said, with an empty stadium, I take it as a workout. When you know the atmosphere in Rome, seeing the stadium empty is a bit hard. It’s week after week, it doesn’t matter,” he stated.

The ironic thing about the current COVID-19 pandemic and Paire’s unhappiness with the rules in place is that when it comes to the rankings he has been one of the biggest beneficiaries. He is currently ranked 35th in the world, despite only winning two matches out of 11 tournaments played so far this season. This is due to adjustments to the rankings calculations to help support players who may encounter troubles travelling to certain tournaments during the pandemic.

I will keep my Marrakech final because I keep half the points and I won there (in 2019. The tournament was cancelled in 2020). I had a fourth round at Roland and I will keep a third round no matter what, I will keep a third round at Wimbledon, I will keep my final in Lyon. I’m not worried,” he explained.
“Even if I go down, I will go down 50th in the world. Just when things get better and the pandemic has passed, we will have to rediscover the pleasure of being on a court.”

One of the most remarkable views of the 32-year-old is that his lack of wins on the Tour hasn’t dented his confidence. In fact, he openly states that he will return back to peak form when the Tour’s COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed and he plays in front of people every week. Suggesting that all this time he hasn’t been playing to his full ability out of choice.

However, what if this plan of Paire’s backfire? His home Grand Slam, the French Open, is less than a month away. At Roland Garros he will be hoping to rely on the support of the public who will be allowed to attend on a restricted basis. Even though he has recently been barred by the French Tennis Association (FFT) for playing at the upcoming Olympics due to his recent behaviour.

“I will train myself. I’m trying to find a trainer, to find help on the physical level. I’m not saying I’m giving up. I do not give up,” Paire assures.
“I’m just saying it’s tough at the closed-door tournaments right now. I am quite sensitive and when I see that I am making good shots and that nothing is happening on the court, there is no noise. Whether I do a double fault or a winning stroke, it’s exactly the same.’
“In Roland (Garros), there will be a few people, I will try to find a little fun even with friends of mine and try to be ready. And if I’m not ready, it will be for the next tournaments.”

It remains to be seen what the future has in store for Paire. Fortunately for him, the ATP has recently sent a document to players outlining an easing to restrictions related to COVID-19. Meaning players will have more freedom during tournaments. Could this enable him to be more consistent and less controversial on Tour? Only time will take on this one.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1406612207086059528

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

https://twitter.com/tennis_gifs/status/1404375935625875457

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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