‘Nobody forces you to play,’ says Dominic Thiem when asked about Benoit Paire’s conduct
He has been very open the struggles of life on the ATP Tour during the Covid-19 era, but Dominic Thiem says he can’t condone Benoit Paire’s behaviour in recent months.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on all walks of life and many tennis players have revealed in recent months that the health and safety restrictions that have been imposed are starting to take its toll.
Thiem himself took some time out after the Dubai Tennis Championships in March as he struggled mentally and physically, admitting that the bubble life has become too much.
In an interview with El Pais, he said: “It is not easy, of course. It is difficult for everyone, because we are used to playing with stands full of fans, to travel freely from one city to another without difficulties.
“Now we play in empty stadiums, and every trip is complicated, and besides, life in the bubble is not fun at all.
“I understand that there are many players who find it difficult, but I also think that this will not last forever, that at some point things will return to normal.”
Paire, though, has been the most vocal as he feels the circuit has become “rotten” adding that “tennis is not my priority” and “getting out of the bubble is the only goal I have at every tournament”.
The Frenchman has also been involved in several altercations with officials and has lost 10 out of 11 matches this year.
Asked if he understand Paire’s behaviour in recent months, Thiem replied: “No, I don’t understand. If you don’t want to play, you stay at home. If you are not motivated, nobody forces you to play.
“I think what I did is better: I took some time out, cancelled my participation in three or four tournaments, and at some point the motivation returns.
“Once you get out on the track, I think you should be able to compete, even if you are not 100 percent. But if you don’t feel like playing, you better take a vacation.”
Andy Murray gives positive assessment of week in Rome, saying ‘I’m happy I came over here’
Murray has been practising with top players.
Rafael Nadal saves two match points as he battles back from the brink against Denis Shapovalov
The Spaniard was far from his best against Shapovalov.
Coco Gauff savours Aryna Sabalenka victory, insists ‘I have no pressure’ ahead of Ashleigh Barty clash
“It will be great to see where my level is,” says Gauff.
‘It wasn’t fun. It was kind of brutal for me,’ admits Iga Swiatek after tough win over Barbora Krejcikova
Iga Swiatek saved two match points in Rome.
Major coup for Emilia-Romagna Open as Serena Williams changes plans and adds event to her schedule
Serena Williams off to Parma next week.
‘It was nice to see them back,’ says Novak Djokovic as fans return to watch him win at Italian Open
Another win for Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open.
Matteo Berrettini’s improvement paying off as Italian recaptures good form in 2021
Oli Jefford explains why Matteo Berrittini has the potential become one of the biggest names in tennis.
‘It’s just a matter of time’ before she will be ‘raring to go’ on clay, says Serena Williams
“It is what it is,” says Serena Williams.
Rafael Nadal gives his verdict on ‘complete player’ Jannik Sinner after Italian Open victory
“He’s still improving all the time,” says Nadal about Sinner.
‘It’s a special win,’ says Nadia Podoroska after upsetting Serena Williams at Italian Open
Williams was playing the 1,000 match of her career.