Nicolas Escudé, DTN of the French Tennis Federation, explains the reasons that led to the exclusion of Benoît Paire from the Olympic Games. The former Davis Cup winner also talks about the support he could benefit from.
“Benoît put the cover back in Monte Carlo with outdated statements at a press conference. From that moment, we could not afford as a federation and an institution to let these things pass.” Nicolas Escudé returned this Friday in a press point on the decision to exclude Benoît Paire from the next Olympic Games.
“We are not here to want to hit him on the head”
The DTN of FFT explains this choice by a duty of exemplarity, on the part of the Federation (“we had to have a conduct beyond our federation but also for sport”) but also of the player (“with the media aura that Benoît can have, the image he can convey “). Escudé also evokes “a warning from Gilles (Moretton, president of the FFT) on the fact that it was not the first time”.
Winner of only one match since the start of the season, Benoît Paire is not doing well and is going through a delicate period, which the Federation does not hide: “he is in great difficulty today, we are fully aware of it . We are not here to want to hit him on the head “.
“Benoît needs this feeling with the public”
Nicolas Escudé nevertheless understands the moods of the Frenchman, who has not won since February 25: “the circuit does not look like what it could have been: there are plenty of health measures in place, bubbles, constraints. It’s far from obvious, especially for a player and a person like Benoit who needs this feeling with the public “.
A punishment that the player seems to accept to believe the DTN: “he is fully aware of having gone off the road with inappropriate statements in a context that is not simple”, (…) he was able to do it for us. verbalizing, writing it to us, it was constructive. He understands the sanction “.
“If Benoît needs help, we’ll do whatever we can”
In this intervention, Escudé also confirms that Paire could be offered help from the FFT: “We are also in a process of helping him as much as possible, but for that, things have to come from him. . He can turn to us if he wants to. The period is extremely complicated for Benoit, he is having a lot of trouble. If Benoît needs help, we will do what we can. “
Winner of three career tournaments, the last of which was almost two years old, the 31-year-old would have “reacted well to this proposal” and should not appeal to CAS. As a reminder, his previous participation in the Olympics, in 2016 in Rio, ended badly since he had been excluded from the tricolor delegation. But this episode dates back five years and “had nothing to do with the Comex’s decision”.
The Olympic selection not yet defined
The 35th player in the world will be able to take part in the other tournaments on the circuit and will only be deprived of the Olympic Games, “because we represent the France team, we have the France jersey, in terms of ethics and responsibility, of conduct, we have to be totally irreproachable. This is absolutely not the case with Benoît today “. For its Olympic selection, the FFT will not necessarily take the four best ranked players and keep “the last word”, confirms Escudé.