Sports Tennis 03 Jan 2017 How Benoit Paire hel ...

How Benoit Paire helped Andy Murray become world number one

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jan 3, 2017, 1:09 am IST
Updated Jan 3, 2017, 1:13 am IST
The 27-year-old, who is here for the Chennai Open, opened up on his dislike for Wimbledon, his keenness to play the Davis Cup.
Benoit Paire
 Benoit Paire

Chennai: Swashbuckling on the court and colourful off it, Frenchman Benoit Paire ensures that there is never a dull moment when he is around. The 27-year-old, who is here for the Chennai Open, opened up on his dislike for Wimbledon, his keenness to play the Davis Cup and why Andy Murray should be grateful to him for becoming world no. 1.

Paire is confident that he will fulfill his wish of representing France in the Davis Cup, although he is serving a suspension slapped on him by the national federation on charges of staying outside for two nights before a second-round match at the Rio Olympics. “I love the Davis Cup. For me, if I play tennis, it’s for my country. I am not on good terms with the federation because of the Olympics.

 

The federation has banned me from playing until February; we will see happens afterwards. We have a lot of good players in France such as Tsonga, Simon, Monfils and Pouille. For the moment, the only thing I want to focus on is my tennis and I want to play a good tournament here,” he said.

The forthright Frenchman isn’t a big fan of Wimbledon as a result of the tournament’s “umpteen” rules. “My views haven’t changed. I don’t like the tournament that much. That’s life. Sometimes you like some tournament, sometimes you don’t.  For me, I don’t like grass. I love clay, so I like Roland Garros,” said the semifinalist at the Chennai Open in 2016.

 

In the Monte Carlo Masters last year, Murray came back from a set and a match point down to beat Paire. Many experts call the win a turning point of Murray’s career, saying it made the Briton to believe he could be number one. “It was a good match but I lost. Last year was not good for me, but it was good for him. He became World No. 1 after the win. He can say ‘Thank you’ to me now,” Paire said.

The enterprising player loves Chennai as he keeps coming back to the Tamil Nadu capital. “I like the city. I like to start the season here. I prefer the not-too-hot conditions here,” he said.

 

Paire said he has taken up boxing to help him focus on tennis. “I took up boxing to improve physically. Boxing also helps me stay mentally fit because you have to be focused to avoid getting hit,” he added.

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