Paire is confident that he will fulfill his wish of representing France in the Davis Cup.
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 what happens afterwards. For the moment, the only thing I want to focus on is my tennis,” 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.
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.