A big fireworks display above Puerto Vallarta, photos galore with his smartphone, a pizza eaten lying on his hotel bed and a good TV series… Benoît Paire celebrated his victory in the Mexican Challenger against to the Japanese Shimizu (3-6, 6-0, 6-2).
The Avignonnais, 33, had not lifted a single trophy for four years and an ATP 250 title in Lyon. Since then, the career of the former world No. 18 has had its downs… and downs. Affected in morale by the Covid period, the Habs dragged their sentence to the four corners of the planet, blithely exceeding the boundaries of what is admissible on the court (insults, throwing rackets, etc.) and those of blood alcohol levels outside.
Before landing in the seaside resort on the shores of the Pacific, more famous for its water sports and its nightlife than for its tennis tournament, the French troublemaker had never managed to win more than two matches in a row on the secondary circuit. in six attempts this season.
After a meager quarter-final in Nouméa in January, Paire had only gleaned three small successes and failed in qualifying in Montpellier. Then, heading to Miami to “decompress” and early eliminations at the Challengers of Monterrey (Mexico) and Waco (United States) before heading back to Central America.
In one week, Paire will have won as many matches as in two months against opponents very well within his reach (respectively 246th, 319th, 269th, 386th and finally 309th), by dismissing a match point in the first round and by imposing four times in three sets. Nothing transcendent in the level but a good indicator of motivation for the very fresh 169th at ATP, who has just made a jump of forty places in the ranking.
During the week, the Vauclusien, reluctantly, had especially caught the eye of doubles observers in an astonishing first round associated with the modest local Daniel Moreno, not classified at the ATP, against the pair Mejia / Choinski . A match won by the Franco-Mexican duo (6-4, 6-2 after being led 0-3) whose scenario was quite intrigued by the poor quality of play of the losers and the simultaneous fluctuation of online bets. But nothing that justified the opening of an investigation.
While his former playmates scrap in Indian Wells while waiting for Miami, the Provençal flew to compete in the qualifications for the Phoenix Challenger, where he must challenge the Swiss Riedi (135th in the world). If he manages to integrate the table in Arizona, Paire could face Gaël Monfils or Richard Gasquet.