February 19, 2024

Open Court


Oz Flashback: Benoit Paire, reluctant qualifier



With Frenchman Benoit Paire struggling in his first-round match in Montpellier Tuesday, a quick look back on his less-than-enthousiastic effort in the first round of Australian Open qualies.

Paire played a young keener in Swedish teenager Elias Ymer. But regardless of who was on the other side of the net, Paire’s heart was definitely not in it.

He just looked lost. When we compare this to a later supreme effort by Austrian lefty Jurgen Melzer, a player far more accomplished than Paire and a former top-10, to fight through to the main draw, it looked even more feeble.

Here’s what it looked like.


You wonder, why did he even make the long trip in the first place?


To his credit, Paire (now ranked No. 149), took a wild card into a Futures in France played the first week of the Australian Open. He never faced anyone ranked above No. 400, and he hardly rolled (he even got bageled by No. 442 Maxime Teixeira in the middle set of their final). But he won it. At least it gave him some matches.


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