Frenchman Benoit Paire has been voted by his peers as the ATP Comeback Player of the Year. Paire has soared into new heights this year, rising 106 spots in the rankings from the beginning of the year until now, moving from 126 to 20. His stellar year was highlighted by his title in Bastad and a finals appearance in Tokyo.
A Paire Of Tour-Level Finals Highlights The Season
Toiling outside the top 100, the talented, yet enigmatic Frenchman had to qualify for the Australian Open. He failed to do that after getting knocked out by Swedish sensation Elias Ymer in the first round of qualifying. He won his first title of the year at an ITF Futures event in Bressuire, defeating countryman Maxime Teixeira in the final. Paire’s wild playstyle was on full display there, as he didn’t really blow anyone away in a single set, despite possessing a much higher ceiling than most players, and was even bageled in the second set of the final.
He took home his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Bergamo, Italy after defeating Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the final. After playing in a tour-level event in Marseille, Paire continued his Challenger run, this time Cherbourg; he would finish runner-up to Norbert Gombos. After a third consecutive Challenger final and second title (Quimper), Paire moved inside the top 100 for the first time since mid-October of 2014.
Paire played his first major at the French Open and had a reasonable showing by making the third round but jis season truly took off at Bastad on the post-Wimbledon, mini-clay swing. He won his first tour-level title of the year in Bastad at the SkiStar Swedish Open over Tommy Robredo.
He then went on a nice run on the hard courts which was highlighted by his first round upset of last year’s US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori and a finals showing at the Tokyo Open where he lost to good friend Stan Wawrinka.