French nonconformist Benoit Paire has just about had enough of joyless tennis played in empty stadiums due to COVID restrictions around the world..
The No. 29 who has a reputation for speaking his mind – and more – has lashed out at working conditions on the Tour.
“The ATP circuit has become sad, boring and ridiculous … I know you are going to say you don’t realise how lucky you are blah-blah-blah, but playing in closed stadiums without any atmosphere (isn’t) why I play tennis.
“Having to stay either at the hotel or at the tennis club (bio-bubbles common at events now) and be forbidden to go out on pain of exclusion and a fine, (what) is the pleasure of traveling?”
After coming down with a light case of COVID and also compiling a miserable 2-12 record since the ATP resumption last August, the bushy-bearded millennial may be feeling the pressure of poor performance.
His latest loss in Santiago came against No. 410 qualifier Holger Rune, tipped for a fast climb on the circuit; he was also fined a week earlier for spitting near an opponent in Buenos Aires.
Paire seems ready to plod on half-heartedly, going through the motions:
“I’m going to go play Acapulco (next week) and Miami after thinking a lot, and my goal will be just to have a smile on the field and enjoy hitting a ball.
“(If) I lose I really don’t care.”