French tennis player Benoit Paire lashed out at the Australian Open authorities for unequally treating participants, calling the competition “sh*tty” after his unexpected first-round exit.
The 25th seed suffered a shocking defeat from Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov on Monday, losing to his lower-ranked and less experienced opponent in four sets 2-6, 6-2, 6-7, 5-7.
Paire was among the 72 players locked in a strict quarantine for two weeks after positive Covid-19 cases were detected on charter flights to Melbourne.
The Frenchman, who was denied the opportunity to practice over the two-week course, lambasted the organizers for imposing harsh restrictions he hadn’t been warned of.
“Their tournament in my opinion is sh*tty,” Paire said. “My game and attitude today were OK, but overall I’m very disappointed by this event. I didn’t sign up for this. I signed for a protocol where I would be able to practice for 14 days.”
“We had half-empty planes so you did not come in contact with anyone. And then you have a positive case and everyone is in quarantine. I did not come into contact with any person in the plane and after I went to the hotel on my own,” he added.
The athlete also expressed his anger over privileges provided to top-class players, including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who were not forced to stay in a strict lockdown and were allowed to train in Adelaide.
“There was also a positive case on the flight to Adelaide, but there they didn’t have to quarantine,” Paire said.
“There should be the same rules for everyone. I do not understand why there is not. It’s not fair for everyone. It’s not fair. It’s a scandal.”