Benoit Paire Fires Back at Critics Who Called Him ‘Mountebank’ After Defeating Denis Shapovalov at Cincinnati Open 2021

Published 08/18/2021, 8:06 AM EDT
Aug 11, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Benoit Paire of France plays a shot against Diego Schwartzman of Argentinain third round play in the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


Benoit Paire pulled off the biggest upset at the ongoing Cincinnati Open yesterday. In the second round of the hardcourt tournament, the Frenchman stunned sixth seed Denis Shapovalov in an intense three-set battle.

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Before the Cincinnati Open, Paire endured a tough start to 2021. While he mouthed off after his exit from the Australian Open, France banned him from participating in the Tokyo Olympics for those actions. In addition, he suffered first-round exits to seeded players in the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year.

After his victory yesterday, the 32-year-old spoke about the criticism he faced for his earlier performances.

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Paire faced Shapovalov for the fourth time in his tennis career. Although both players have an age difference of 10 years, Shapovalov is far ahead of the Frenchman in the world rankings. However, Paire led the World No. 10 2-1 in their head-to-head.

While it may not seem like much, one could say Paire had a leg up on the 22-year-old. And the World No. 50 extended his lead in the head-to-head with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory. This also marked the first time he beat a player in the Top 10 since Stanislas Wawrinka at the Madrid Open in 2017.

Paire faced lots of criticism in his career due to his inconsistency and poor performances. He said“I heard it a lot, that I was no longer a tennis player: ‘Benoît Paire here, Benoît Paire there, Benoît Paire is a mountebank.’ I have always said it: playing in conditions like that is not my thing.” (Quotes translated from Google)

However, he admitted he can beat the best now that tennis is slowly returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. “Now that tennis is back to normal, I manage to beat a top 10 so it’s only tennis, it is there…  My legs are there when they need to be and the head follows. I did what I could during that time and there I became a 100% tennis player again and ready to beat the best.”

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Paire to face either Jannik Sinner or John Isner in the third round

Sinner, the 11th seed in Cincinnati, will take on Isner today with the winner facing Paire in the third round. Both players will face each other for the first time in their careers. In addition, Paire shares an identical 1-1 head-to-head record with both Sinner and Isner.

Aug 11, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Benoit Paire of France plays a shot against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in third round play in the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Frenchman build on momentum after causing the biggest upset in the tournament so far? Only time will tell.

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Sanket Nair

642 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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