In the wake of the pandemic, ATP had introduced four new events– of which one is the Astana Open 2020. Held at Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan, the tournament hosts only one Top 30 player, namely the Frenchman Benoit Paire. Seeded number one, he will be looking to regain his confidence post-pandemic.
The 31-year-old French professional faced quite an ordeal in adjusting to the new arrangements, as he had tested COVID positive on two different occasions (US Open, Hamburg European Open), which later affected his performance drastically.
“This year was good at the beginning. I made the final in Auckland, felt good on the court and I was happy to play. Last year was a good year too, so I was very happy to start the season like this and then COVID-19 arrived with lockdown in France. We had to stay at home and couldn’t do anything physically,” said Benoit Paire to Ubitennis.
However, Astana Open has risen as a perfect opportunity for World No. 28 to revive his form and return to his A-game again. Hopefully, the competition will do its job and Paire will catch the tempo he held in the previous years.
After losing to Dennis Novak in two straight sets at the bett1HULKS Indoors tournament 6-3, 6-4, Paire will target Astana Open for his comeback. Coincidentally, he has was awarded the ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ in 2015 for his high jump in the ranks.
But all that is not as easy as a pie for the French player. The new provisions allow only a limited number of fans, and that is working hard on many players, including Paire.
He added, “When we started again I was not ready mentally to play like this without fans on the court. This is not easy for me but I am going to try and do my best in Kazakhstan. I have not had the best preparation for this tournament. I haven’t won a lot of matches but you never know.”
The title doesn’t seem farfetched for World No. 28 if we ignore his recent endeavors. Although, getting back in the form will definitely prove to be a boon for his circuit ahead.
“If I win one or two matches maybe I can go for the title. The confidence is not there for the moment but it will be here if I win a couple of matches. To try to enjoy playing on the court and have fun. That is the most important thing for me in the tournament. Even if I play bad, just try and fight. This is what I haven’t done since the Tour started again,” he said.
If he begins to enjoy his game at the Astana Open 2020, the title will be in wait for his hands to grasp it.