Benoit Paire tanks through weird US Open finish

Benoit Paire certainly seemed ready to bid the 2022 US Open adieu.

In a bizarre move Tuesday, the 33-year-old Frenchman was seen packing up his belongings during the third set against the UK’s Cameron Norrie, who was up 5-0 at the time.

“Benoit’s just packing his stuff up,” Naomi Broady of BBC Radio 5 said, according to The Mirror. “He has put all his rackets in his bag and handed his sweaty shirt to someone in the crowd. That would not be a shirt I would want to receive. Does he realize he has another game to go?”

Pair ultimately lost to Norrie, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0. The French pro, who has been accused of tanking in the past, dropped the third set in less than 20 minutes, leading tennis pundits to speculate as to whether or not he’d be fined for Tuesday’s effort.

“Pair isn’t even trying. Big fine coming,” tennis commentator José Morgado tweeted before following up with“He is now trying.”

Sportswriter Mike Dickson also tweeted, “Cam Norrie beats the barely trying Benoit Paire in 6-0 7-6 6-0. First set took 18 minutes, the third 19 minutes. If it was a horse race there would be a stewards’ inquiry.”

Pair, who is expected to receive $80,000 for Tuesday’s match, spoke candidly about his future in the sport after the defeat.

Benoit Paire returns a shot to Cameron Norrie during their first-round match at the US Open on August 30, 2022.
PA
Cameron Norrie speaks with Benoit Paire after winning their US Open match on August 30, 2022.
Cameron Norrie speaks with Benoit Paire after winning their US Open match on August 30, 2022.
PA

“I was leading 5-3, I could have taken the second set, it would have done me good in the head, but my demons came back again, the double faults, and it starts all the time the same,” Paire told the French outlet, L’Equipe, per Yahoo Sports Australia.

“We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure to continue the season, maybe stop there and see if I resume next year.”

Paire, who once ranked No. 18 in the world, added, “Even at Grand Slams, I find it difficult to fight. I hope one day to find a motivation, something that will make me love tennis. Right now, I’m the happiest when I’m at home and the unhappiest when I’m in the tournament.”

As for Norrie, the world’s current No. 9, he will face Portugal’s João Sousa in the second round on Thursday.

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