Rafael Nadal: ‘Benoit Paire is a great guy, but I understand Olympics ban decision’

Rafael Nadal says Benoit Paire is a ‘great guy,’ but he says he can understand the FFT’s decision to ban him from the Olympics.

Paire has made a string of controversial comments following poor behaviour on court this year, with him citing the restrictions of the pandemic as the reason for his disillusionment.

He has openly admitted it is his ‘priority’ to lose in the first round of tournaments, claiming reduced prize money makes it not worth the effort to go any further, and he would rather get out of the bio-secure COVID bubble.

That led to the French Tennis Federation saying he would not be considered to represent them at the Olympics this summer due to ‘deeply inappropriate’ disregard for the sporting ideals that are at the event’s heart.

When quizzed by the press about it, Nadal was initially reluctant to get involved, instead choosing to express empathy for Paire’s mental struggles.

However, he also said that he felt the FFT’s decision was reasonable given what has transpired.

“I don’t want to comment on what’s happened with Paire,” Nadal said. “I know he’s a great guy, even if he’s lost motivation in the last months.

“I understand the FFT decision, but I know Benoit and I am sure it’s been tough for him. I think he is a good guy.

“I understand the frustration of the players in recent months, but it is true that he has said some things that are not welcomed by people.

“I understand the decision.”

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