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Tokyo Olympics: Benoit Paire barred from representing France for his 'deeply inappropriate behaviour'

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton disapproving of Benoit Paire's behaviour, saying he's undermining the image of tennis and is "totally incompatible" with the Olympic spirit; The world No 35 has made no attempt to hide his dislike of life on tour

Benoit Paire of France reacts after winning a point during his match against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Image: Benoit Paire has been barred from representing France in the Tokyo Olympics this summer

Benoit Paire has been barred from representing France at the Tokyo Olympics this summer because of his "deeply inappropriate behaviour".

The 31-year-old, who would have been in a position to qualify as the French No 4 and world No 35, has made the headlines repeatedly this year for his conduct on court and comments off it.

Paire, a famously irascible character on the court, has made no attempt to hide his dislike of life on tour during the coronavirus pandemic, with the players' off-court freedoms restricted and tournaments held behind closed doors.

In an Instagram post last month, Paire said the tour had become "sad, boring and ridiculous", while he also stated his aim was to lose in the first round of each tournament so he could escape life in a bubble.

He has lost nine of his 10 singles matches this season and, following defeat by Jordan Thompson at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, Paire said: "I just don't care. There's no magic. What is the pleasure playing like this?

"If you've experienced the tour and you see how it is now, the only thing you want is to just go away."

In announcing its decision, the French Tennis Federation also cited Paire's behaviour in a match against Francisco Cerundolo in Buenos Aires in March, where he spat and swore on court.

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The FFT's statement said that Paire had apologised following a conversation with president Gilles Moretton and that would have been sufficient had the Frenchman not continued in the same vein with his comments in Monte Carlo.

Moretton said: "His deeply inappropriate behaviour since the start of the year seriously undermines the values of sport, the image of tennis and is totally incompatible with the Olympic spirit.

"It is the duty of each player and each high-level player to respect the values of our sport and it is up to them to be exemplary on the court as well as off, especially vis-a-vis the young people of our country."

It is not the first time Paire has been disciplined by the FFT. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, he was kicked off the team after losing his second-round singles matches for poor behaviour and breaching team rules.

The FFT has offered Paire support.

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