Benoît Paire (35th) won his first match in more than two months on Tuesday, and his second of the season only, at the expense of Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili (31st) 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the Masters 1000 in Madrid.
Until then, Paire, who will celebrate his 32th birthday on Saturday, had lost ten of the eleven matches he had played in 2021. His only victory dates back to the end of February, in the first round of the Cordoba tournament (Argentina), against Chilean Nicolas Jarry. The French will therefore challenge the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round, neither more nor less than the most regular player of the first part of the season. Pair has been dragging its spleen on the circuit since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and suffers from the closed door often put in place. This time he was able to count on a small benevolent French colony, quickly joined by the hundred or so spectators seated in the stands. They gave voices, clapped their hands, stamped their feet, and even pulled out the foghorn to put balm in her heart.
“That’s why I play, for atmospheres like that, it warmed my heart.”
“To be in a Davis Cup atmosphere, it makes me feel good, it makes me love this sport again, love tennis again, that’s why I play, for atmospheres like that, it made me love tennis again. is heartwarming ”, then rejoiced Paire, recently deprived of the Olympic Games by the French Tennis Federation for his repeated misconduct in recent months regarding tennis in Covid mode. Everything was not perfect, far from it, and the game was even particularly disjointed. On the Pair side, a sawtooth service – 14 aces and nine double faults, including two in the game where he served for the match at 5-4 -, sometimes suspect placements, but also inspirations like these deadlines most of the time. paying time and, above all, no major nervous breakdowns. His new Madrid fans necessarily trembled when, in the service for the gain of the meeting, the French committed four faults in a row and gave his white service.
“It’s a renewal, a victory that really feels good.”
“I wanted to do so well that it crippled me. But the positive is that I stayed focused, positive, which I had not done for a very long time, ”said Paire after the match. Side Basilashvili, winner of the Munich tournament on Sunday in Germany, the sequence with Madrid was probably too much. This victory is in any case the happiness of Paire, who did not fail to celebrate it by sharing a selfie with the public. “It’s a renewal, a victory that really feels good,” he admits.