Sport

French tennis star loses match following epic on-court meltdown

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Dave Fawbert
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Benoit Paire tennis Washington Open

If you’re going to go down, go down in style

In football, one of the biggest lies regularly trotted out is when a full 22-man brawl erupts, with players and officials from both sides piling in with punches, scissor kicks and general unrestrained violence, and the commentator says: “No one wants to see that sort of thing”.

Au contraire Mr Commentator, because that is exactly the sort of thing that we do want to see.

Similarly, in tennis, we might all admire the exquisite strokeplay of Roger Federer and the pure destructive power of Novak Djokovic, but we also all love a good old hotheat who cannot get through a match without losing their rag and indulging in some screaming invective aimed at the umpire, the crowd, or themselves.

It’s long been thought that the successor to John McEnroe in the enfant terrible stakes would be the enigmatic Australian Nick Kyrgios but it seems he’s a pussycat compared to this guy.

Step forward 29-year-old Frenchman Benoit Paire, who unleashed one of the all-time great on-court tantrums on Tuesday during a round of 64 match against Marcos Baghdatis.

After losing a crucial game when he failed to execute a routine smash, falling over in the process, he proceeded to smash up one racket before throwing it into the net, being warned with a code violation, then walking over to his chair and smashing another racket, receiving a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, then getting up, throwing two rackets onto the court for a poor ball-boy to collect, then - at 40-0 down in the final game - refused to play Baghdatis’s match point serve, giving him a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win.

We could pretend that this is shameful, unsporting and all the rest of it, but who hasn’t, at some point, felt exactly that frustrated with their own performance and desperately wanted to smash up whatever was closest to hand?

We’ve all been there Benoit, good on you lad.

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com acting editor Dave is famous for electropop, power ballads and urban snake wrangling.

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