Still too fair to bring down the solid Ruud, Benoit Paire has displayed a better face than in recent weeks and has (finally) found a smile.
After the match point won by his opponent Casper Ruud 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), Benoît Paire remained for a long time in his chair, prostrate, hiding his tears under a towel, before leaving the stage to a last ovation. Emotion has replaced the anger and frustration that it has dragged on for months like balls. His statements and his attitudes on the courts have rightly annoyed, even often exasperated. The Parisian public did not hold it against him and encouraged him in a beautiful atmosphere despite the limited number of spectators on the Simone Mathieu. “I collapsed in my chair. It wasn’t sadness. If I cracked, it’s because I have a lump in my stomach and my stomach is knotted and it is difficult to come out. The people enjoyed it and so did I. It brought out all that was negative in me ”. Tennis level, Paire took a set from the Norwegian Casper Ruud, 16e world and in great shape, in the first round of Roland-Garros. A small victory in itself. Well in legs, the 40e world was able to ignite the Simonne Mathieu for nearly an hour before falling physically, then pushing Ruud to his limits during the 4e some.
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“I rediscovered the tennis that I love with the public, emotion and sharing”
“I had a lot of fun even if there was obviously a lot of disappointment to lose from the first lap. I came to find the atmosphere that I love at Roland-Garros. It warmed my heart. I already felt a lot of emotion when I entered the field. It will mark me. In terms of mental well-being, I was reassured in front of an audience that supported me. ” The “unloved” assured that he was afraid of a much less warm welcome. “I needed to see how the public was going to react, I was wondering how it was going to be on the court. I needed to know how the audience was going to react after everything that was said about me. I got shot all over the press. I was afraid that I would be hated at this Roland Garros. I wondered if I was going to receive insults. But they like my style of play even though there might be some of my statements that bother them. It reassures me. I get so much criticism that people give me a boost of oxygen. My family sees that I am not happy, they feel it. The level of play, I have it. If I regain good physical condition and a little confidence, I can do great things. But tennis is not just physical, it’s a lot in the head. I went through quarantines. I was twice positive and contact case. It does a lot to do my job. ”
And the Avignon resident even wanted to thank the Federation which lent him Boris Vallejo to perfect his physical condition before Roland-Garros: “I thank the Fédé for allowing me to work with Boris, I thank Paulo (Paul-Henri Mathieu ), I thank everyone. ”.