Move over Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, French tennis has an anti-establishment bad boy of its own in world No.34 Benoit Paire.
Paire, who isn’t immune to an on-court blow-up, has been provisionally suspended by the French Tennis Federation (FFF), along with female players Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia, for “damaging its image” at the Rio Olympics.
Paire, who was seeded 16th at the Games, was sent home for breaking team rules, the FFF said on Sunday.
The 27-year-old reportedly sometimes stayed away from the village or returned late.
He also made dismissive comments about the importance of the Olympics because there were no ranking points.
FFF technical director Arnaud Di Pasquale slammed Paire at the time.
“It is unacceptable. It’s a lack of respect vis-a-vis his peers and staff,” Di Pasquale told French television.
“I think we have already given him a lot. There are rules to follow when one is in the France team.
“I asked him to pack his bags, to do what he wants to do outside if desired. This is intolerable, unacceptable. He was warned several times it was coming to him.”
Paire shrugged off his exclusion: “I’m happy to leave.
“I have a different view of what is happening at the Olympics. I keep my opinions to myself. The federation, they are non-existent, so it is not very serious.”
Mladenovic and Garcia “sharply criticised” the FFF following their defeat in the first round of the doubles over a clothing mix-up, saying they were not informed by their federation that, as doubles partners, they had to wear the same colours.
The pair was told just before going on court they could lose by default if they didn’t change their clothing, and Mladenovic had to lend Garcia some spare gear.
Mladenovic was particularly angry, lambasting the FFF on social media about its “incompetence” and blaming it for “ruining” their match.
The FFF said all three showed an “unacceptable attitude” and were provisionally suspended from selection until a final decision was made on September 24.
Mladenovic and Garcia are key players in the French Fed Cup team who will contest the final against the Czech Republic in November.
France plays away to Croatia in the Davis Cup semi-finals on September 16-18, meaning Paire is ineligible to play.