Benoit Paire falls asleep during first round loss to Cameron Norrie in Auckland: Maverick Frenchman adds to his list of on-court shenanigans

Leye Aduloju in ATP 8 Jan 2019
  • Benoit Paire appeared to sleep off during his first-round loss to Cameron Norrie at the ASB Classic in Auckland
  • Paire blamed jet-lag for the incident, arguing that he should have been given extra time to recover from a long flight from India
Benoit Paire. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Frenchman, Benoit Paire is one of the renowned mavericks on the men's tour, and nothing he does should really surprise us, but the 29-year-old took it to another level on Monday, when he fell asleep during his match against Cameron Norrie at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Norrie won the match 6-3 6-2 to move into the second round, but most of the headlines were reserved for Paire, who bizarrely dozed off during one of the changeovers.

Paire would later insist that he was trying his best to win the match, despite evidence to the contrary, arguing that he had not been granted enough recovery time by the tournament organizers after a 28-hour flight from Pune, India, where he had competed in the first week of the year.

Paire reached the quarter finals in Pune, beating Thiago Monteiro and Jiri Vesely before losing 3-6 7-6 6-4 to compatriot, Gilles Simon in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours last Thursday.

The Frenchman eventually arrived Auckland on Sunday (after his long flight), and on discovering that he was scheduled to play on Monday, he took to social media to launch a sarcastic tirade at the schedulers. 

Perhaps, his first round snooze was a quiet protest to the organizers?

"Honestly I was trying”; Paire said after the match. "I was trying with what I could. Try to do a travel of 28 hours and play the day after and you will see it's not easy for the body. I tried to do my best but my best was not very high today”.

"When you don't sleep and you travel 28 hours your body is not fit. It was not easy. After one break I tried to do my best and run 100 per cent but I felt something in the legs."

The former world No. 18 said he had tried to inform the tournament of his plight and had requested to play on Tuesday, but the organizers apparently were not aware of his request.

"I was not supposed to play on Monday but they forget to put me on Tuesday”.  
"I asked but they didn't receive the email from my agent. They said 'we didn't know'. That's why I played on Monday. They said they weren't sorry; they couldn't change the schedule because it was out."

Despite the shenanigans from the other end, Norrie did well to keep his concentration as the Brit opened his 2019 ATP World Tour season on a winning note. (The world No. 93 had beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe during an impressive Hopman Cup campaign in the opening week of the year). 

"I didn't want to fall into the trap of taking him lightly, when he's being casual. He's still serving well and hitting some drop shots extremely well, so it's tough to stay focused and he is playing quickly", Norrie said.

Next up for the 23-year-old is a second round meeting with Portugal’s Joao Sousa, who took out Denis Shapovalov in the first round.

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Benoit Paire falls asleep during first round loss to Cameron Norrie in Auckland: Maverick Frenchman adds to his list of on-court shenanigans

Benoit Paire appeared to fall asleep during his first-round defeat at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

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