Tennis

‘I sometimes miss a game or two because my head is not 100 per cent in the game’

When you think of the bad boys or “characters” in tennis, Benoit Paire will be right up there with a Nick Kyrgios or a Fabio Fognini.

Two years back, a knee injury put his career on hold, but > Paire dug deep and rediscovered himself to finish the year gone by with a career-best ranking of 19. His efforts did not go unnoticed as he was awarded the ATP Comeback Player-of-the-Year for 2015.

“Last year was a good one, coming back from injury and finishing with my best ranking, and also winning my first title (the Swedish Open),” he says.

He has always had a propensity to lose his cool, and that, he says, comes in the way of his progress. “I think I need to practice more and be lot more focused. My problem, sometimes, is that I miss a game or two because my head is not 100 per cent in the game,” he admits. “Also, I need to improve physically because I feel tired after playing long, and when you see the top guys like Novak (Djokovic), Rafa (Nadal) or Stan (Wawrinka), they can play matches after matches at the same level without losing that intensity.”

Ask him about his racquet-breaking, and he says: “I don't even keep count of the number of racquets I have lost. I used to do that a lot when I was young, but last year it was only a few. Hopefully this year it will be zero.”

A pet peeve of Paire’s also happens to be the biggest event on the tennis calendar. “When I play on grass, I don’t feel comfortable with my knees,” he says, adding that the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s the strict adherence to rules and regulations irks him the most.

“You can’t do anything at Wimbledon! They are too strict. You can’t break a racquet or say something (read swearing). They are not happy, which I don’t like.

“I am someone who likes to do my own thing, but I can’t do that there.”

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 2:14:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/%E2%80%98I-sometimes-miss-a-game-or-two-because-my-head-is-not-100-per-cent-in-the-game%E2%80%99/article13984541.ece

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