Benoit Paire on the mend after alcohol detox – ‘It’s not that I was an alcoholic but I drank a lot’

Benoit Paire in action

Benoit Paire has never been afraid to open up about his struggles on and off the court and he also didn’t hold back in Monte Carlo when he revealed he had been drinking too much alcohol in recent months.

There have been a lot of lows for the Frenchman over the past year as he started the 2022 season inside the top 50 of the ATP Rankings, but he finished the campaign at No 172.

The start of 2023 has not gone much better as he failed to qualify for the Australian Open and he has been playing on the ATP Challenger Tour in recent months without much success.

After suffering a string of first-round defeats on the Challenger Tour, Paire got a win under his belt in the first round of qualifiers at the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday as he defeated compatriot Gregory Barrere.

Afterwards he admitted that he had to go an alcohol “detox” following his recent woes.

“As the head was fine, I said to myself: ‘Stop the alcohol a little too.’ I did a detox,” he told RMC Sport.

“It’s not that I was an alcoholic but I drank a lot, I liked it, I did too much when I often partied. I didn’t set myself any limits. It paid off, I was able to lose a few pounds.”

He added: “It all clicked in Waco on February 28 of this year. I couldn’t find the motivation. I was wondering, ‘What am I doing playing Challenger tournaments at a university, in front of two people?’

“I meditated a lot and had a very long phone conversation with my mom. I left for Puerto Vallarta with a completely different mindset. Nicolas Mahut can attest to that, he also helped me a lot after the first round (in Mexico) when I saved a match point.”

Paire is back in the top 200 of the ATP Rankings as he currently sits at No 163 – still a long way away from his career-best No 18.

His run in Monte Carlo came an end in the second round of qualifying as he lost in three sets against Alexei Popyrin on Sunday, but the 33-year-old was grateful for the qualifying wildcard, especially after he likened the atmosphere of the tournament to a cemetery back in 2021.

“During the Covid edition, I had said some not very nice things. That the court was a cemetery…,” he added. “But I added that it was the most beautiful tournament in the world.

“With my agent, we still decided to make the request and I was very touched by their response. The message, it was a nice gift and I thank them very much. You have to believe that I also attract people.”

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