'I don't give a damn': Enfant terrible Paire goes down in hail of expletives

Monaco (AFP) –


Benoit Paire brought his tennis horror show to mainland Europe on Sunday with a predictable first round exit at the Monte Carlo Masters followed by a signature, foul-mouthed rant at the current state of a sport which has brought him $9 million in prize money.

The 31-year-old lost 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/5) in three hours to Australia's Jordan Thompson, his ninth loss in 10 matches in 2021.

If the 74 unforced errors were not incriminating enough, Paire's latest post-mortem on tennis in a world of Covid-19 was as explosive as ever.

"I don't give a damn. I still have doubles to play here and after that, I clear off home," said the world number 35.

"I can say nothing on the match. Tennis doesn't make me happy anymore. To be here is an absolute sadness because it's usually the best tournament in the world."

Paire has waged a running battle of wits with tennis this year, becoming increasingly enraged with bio-bubbles and sterile playing conditions, a consequence of tournaments taking place without spectators.

The Monte Carlo Masters, with its Country Club venue offering stunning views of the Riviera, will also be a fan-free zone this year.

"I don't give a damn, fight or not fight. They say it's Monte Carlo, but we are playing in a sad atmosphere. That's how it is, the circuit has become rotten."

"Winning or losing in such conditions, I don't care. I no longer have the spark."

Paire narrowly escaped a sanction for his opinions when he played on the South American swing recently.

Newly-installed French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton criticised his attitude.

Paire apologised but he may now face new sanctions after claiming he was happy to take the first round loser's cheque on Sunday.

"I took 12,000 euros to be in a quiet hotel, then I go home."

He added: "The Rainier court, on the shores of the Mediterranean is normally the most beautiful court in the world.

"But this year it's the atmosphere of a cemetery."

"So the only moment of happiness is when I'm at home, when I don't put on my mask, that I don't give a damn about the Covid."