French tennis star tests positive for Covid ‘for 250th time’
World top-50 star Benoit Paire has seen his plans for the start of the new season disrupted after the frustrated French ace said he had tested positive for coronavirus “for the 250th time.”
Paire posted a message on Instagram stories on Wednesday venting his disappointment just days before he was due to start his season at the ATP’s ‘Melbourne Summer Set’ event on January 4.
“Hey my name is Benoit Paire, and for the 250th time I tested positive for Covid!!” the world number 46 wrote.
“Honestly I can’t deal with this Covid s**t anymore. How am I doing?
“Because of Covid I got a runny nose, but because of all these quarantines spent in a hotel room halfway across the world, I don’t feel good mentally.
“Last year was tough, and this year starts exactly the same way!!”
Paire, 32, didn’t specify where he was isolating but his message referred to history repeating itself.
The French ace was cooped up in hard quarantine before the 2021 Australian Open earlier this year when a person on his flight to Melbourne tested positive.
After going on to lose in the first round of the tournament, the notorious hothead branded the tournament “s**t” and hit out at organizers.
Back in August 2020, Paire was ruled out of the US Open after testing positive just days before he was due to play.
Paire, who is vaccinated, clarified in his social media post on Wednesday that he fully supported getting jabbed against the virus, but was nonetheless angry at the state of affairs.
“P.S. Just one thing, I’m 100% for the vaccine, but let’s just live as before Covid, otherwise I don’t see the point,” said the Frenchman.
Paire has become a notorious figure on the tennis circuit for some of his outbursts.
He was banned from representing France at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics following “deeply inappropriate” on-court behavior which included spitting at a tournament in Argentina, while he was penalized for lack of effort during a first-round match at Wimbledon in June.
He was sent home from the 2016 Olympics in Rio for poor behavior and breaching team rules.
Paire has three ATP singles titles to his name and has racked up more than $9 million in career prize money.
His best run at a Grand Slam is reaching the fourth round at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, while he made the third round in Melbourne in 2014 and 2017.
The bearded star will face a battle to be cleared for the 2022 Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
By far the biggest potential absentee from the tournament is nine-time men’s champion Novak Djokovic.
The world number one has still not confirmed his vaccine status or plans for the event in Melbourne, even though ATP organizers insisted on Tuesday that the Serb was still registered to compete in the ATP Cup, which starts in Sydney this weekend.
Russian world number five Andrey Rublev announced this week that he had tested positive for Covid while in Barcelona, meaning he will not appear for Russia at the ATP Cup. His plans for the Australian Open remain in doubt.