French tennis player Benoit Paire called the ATP tour “sad, boring and ridiculous” and said he was struggling for motivation with tournaments worldwide largely staged without fans because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Paire, the world number 29, has won just one of seven matches this season and suffered a heavy loss to Danish teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune in his opening round in Santiago, Chile this week.
He crashed out of the Argentina Open in disgrace last week after he was docked a point for spitting, and then ‘tanked’ his final service game in a stormy second round clash against local player Francisco Cerundolo.
“I know you’re going to say ‘You don’t realise how lucky you are…’ but playing in empty stadiums without any atmosphere is not why I play tennis,” the 31-year-old Paire wrote on Instagram.
“I need time to adapt to this pseudo ATP tour, but I’m going to make the effort to try and find again just the enjoyment of playing tennis.”
He added: “My goal will just be to have a smile on court and enjoy hitting a ball, whether I win or I lose, I completely don’t care.”
Paire, who confirmed he will go to Acapulco next week followed by the Miami Masters later this month, was ruled out of last year’s US Open following a positive test for Covid-19.
He was also among the players confined to their hotel room for the entire 14-day quarantine period ahead of the Australian Open after a handful of positive Covid-19 cases were detected on charter flights into the country.