Nick Kyrgios defends Benoit Paire as Wimbledon favourite explains 2021 decision

Wimbledon day two: Highlights from SW19

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Nick Kyrgios has thrown his support behind Benoit Paire amid criticism facing the Frenchman over his recent outbursts. Paire crashed out of Wimbledon to Diego Schwartzman in the latest setback in what’s been a tumultuous year from the 32-year-old.

It was an eventful match for Paire as he was heckled by a fan while also being handed a code violation for a lack of effort.

Paire was defensive in his post-match media duties, stating that he finds life in the Covid-secure bubble tough.

“The bubble it is not for me,” he said.

“I try my best when I am in the bubble, but for me playing tennis like this is impossible. So I try my best. It’s still the same, it’s the bubble here. For me, mentally, It is tough for me.”

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Despite Paire’s clear dissatisfaction at the current situation on the tour, he has still played in a number of tournaments.

Kyrgios though is featuring in just his second of the year at Wimbledon and the Australian admits he made a concious decision earlier in 2021 not to play as much due to the coronavirus pandemic,

And the 26-year-old went on to defend Paire after his win over Ugo Hambert.

“That’s why I didn’t play most of the year. I made the decision that I know myself and I don’t bulls*** to myself,” Kyrgios said.

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“I know that, ‘Nick, are you going to be in a good mental space over this year to go week in, week out in the bubble environment?’ I said, No. That’s why I didn’t play for very long.

“Obviously I didn’t think playing during COVID was a smart thing. But, yeah, that’s why this week I brought my girlfriend, I brought my best friend.

“I wanted to bring two people that I trusted, that I was very comfortable around, that made me feel good. Take it week by week. Next week I got it off. Obviously U.S. is open.

“But, yeah, look, anyone that’s in the bubble, I commend them for their efforts. It’s not easy.

“It’s not easy to disconnect tennis. Usually you can go back to your house in the Wimbledon Village, go for a walk, just disconnect.

“To have good results week in, week out in the bubble, you’re very resilient. I got to give props to these guys. They love it. They love the sport. It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all.

“Yesterday I was here at 12. I warmed up. I was here all day. Finished, got back to my hotel at 1. In a bubble. Woke up, got back here. It’s not easy.

“Yeah, like Benoit, he’s his own man, too. He makes his own decisions. Like he said, he doesn’t owe anything to anyone.

“He plays for himself. That’s what he does. It’s up to him. It’s all good.”

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