Benoit Paire triumphed again in an ATP match 2 years after the last time, when he won against the Swiss Huesler in the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. He did it after a period in which he participated in Challenger tournaments to rebuild his ranking and gain confidence.
Paire found success again on the major circuit in the tournament played this week in Montpellier, in front of his home crowd.
The Frenchman came from behind in the first round to overcome multiple Slam champion and former number 1 Andy Murray - against whom he had never won in the previous 3 - with a score of 2-6 7-6 (5) 6-3, only to be defeated by his countryman Harold Mayot in the following match.
During an interview given to L'Equipe, the former number 18 in the ATP rankings spoke about the problems that followed the COVID-19 infection.
The Frenchman rips who said he's an alcoholic uninterested in tennis
"It's been a long time since I played tournaments of this level. I spent a year playing Challenger tournaments, apart from Roland Garros, where I had a wild card. It was a complicated year, but I had no choice but to return to the Challengers, to earn points and move up in the rankings. My goal was to finish the year in the top 100 and I didn't get there, I finished 115. After the COVID-19, it's difficult and I didn't do very well."
The Frenchman went on to confess the excessive consumption of alcohol in the dark period of his sporting career and the criticism that followed. But he has a different vision about.
"I constantly hear this criticism that I only drink alcohol and that it makes no sense for me to play tennis. Every day is difficult," said Paire, who decided to give himself a second chance by starting from the position of number 110 in the ATP rankings.