Benoit Paire’s career resurgence this season has led to him earning the right to represent France in the inaugural ATP Cup, held from 3-12 January throughout Australia.
The Frenchman will join Gael Monfils, Lucas Pouille, Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin from 3-8 January in Brisbane, where the team will face Serbia, South Africa and Chile in Group A. Should they advance from their round-robin group, they will head to Sydney from 9-12 January as part of the Final Eight.
Paire clinched his first ATP Tour singles title in four years this April in Marrakech (d. Andujar), then followed that up a month later with another title on home soil in Lyon (d. Auger-Aliassime) The 30-year-old also finished runner-up in Winston-Salem (l. to Hurkacz) and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Paire discussed his favourite French players growing up and why he thrives in a team environment.
Which French players did you like to watch growing up?
I would say Sebastien Grosjean and Arnaud Clement. I was always following their matches and supporting them. I grew up close to Marseille, so I was able to see them live at the Open 13 in Marseille and it was important for me to watch them.
What are some of your earliest tennis memories in France as a child?
I remember going with my parents to Roland Garros. It was a big experience to be able to watch the players practise and get some autographs from them.
What are you most excited for with the ATP Cup?
I like being on a team a lot. You can feel the pressure when you’re playing for your country, so I'm very happy to play in the ATP Cup.
If you could pick one shot from any French player on Tour, who would it be and why?
We have too many French players and too many good shots! I would say the speed of Gael Monfils.
Who is the funniest French player on tour?
Again, Monfils. He’s a good player and I like to watch him play - when he wants to play! I understand, though, because sometimes it’s not easy to be 100 per cent every week, but I like to see him doing well this year.
What are three things you love most about France?
The food, for sure. The girls are beautiful in France. And I like the crowds.
Did you grow up playing junior tournaments or team events with the other guys on your team?
Not really because Monfils is older than me and Pouille is younger than me, but I know them well and we are good friends. It will be interesting to be on the same team.