“There Is a Problem”: Benoit Paire Cites Absence of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic from Miami Open to Raise Tour Concerns

Published 03/20/2021, 11:37 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand in his third round match against Taylor Fritz of the United States during day five of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


Veteran French tennis star Benoit Paire has raised fresh concerns on the double whammy of moving from one bubble to another, while on Tour, at a time when tournament sponsors are reducing prize money citing the pandemic. The fact that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have all pulled out of the upcoming Miami Open has only underlined his concerns.

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The latest remark from the 31-year-old Frenchman comes on the heels of a recent post-match interaction with the press where he said that the game is being stripped off its soul minus an ambience and it’s hard to keep one’s motivation levels up.

He said that playing closed-doors across events has made tennis a “tasteless profession”.

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Benoit Paire says the withdrawals of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic from Miami points to a problem in the circuit

Add to it the shrinking purse at top events and the players are left with very little motivation to risk traveling in Covid times. Hinting as much, the Frenchman cited the depleted men’s draw at this year’s Miami Open to reinforce his point.

In what is arguably the first time in many years, the tournament will not have the ‘Big Three’ vying for the title.

While World Number 1 Novak Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the event citing the restrictions in place in view of the pandemic, his ‘Big Three’ rival Rafael Nadal, too, pulled out because of a bad back.

Former World Number 1 and 2019 Miami champion Roger Federer, who returned to competitive action at the recent Qatar Open, also withdrew from the event, opting instead to return to training ahead of the grass court season.

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 03: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning a point during his Semi Final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland on Day 6 of the Rolex Paris Masters on November 3, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

What’s more, reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and veteran French star Gael Monfils are also among the big-name pullouts from this year’s Miami Open.

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However, if Paire is to be believed, the reduced prize money this year may have had a lot to do with the ‘Big Three’ pulling out.

“When I see that the Miami Masters 100 will be played without Roger, Rafa, Novak, Dominic, Gael and Stan, there is a problem at the moment on the circuit,” the Frenchman wrote on Twitter.

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“Not a Lot In It For Us”: Denis Shapovalov Laments Reduced Prize Money at Tour Events

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Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov also raised a similar concern after making a semi-final exit at the ongoing Dubai Open, saying reduced prize money is taking the motivation out of players to compete.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

825 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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