Frenchman Benoit Paire is aware of the fact that he will never be as successful as the Big 3 - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. However, the Frenchman still considers himself a 'champion' of the sport.
Paire is currently ranked No. 28 in the world, although he has been as high as No. 18. The talented 31-year-old has often been labelled an underachiever; his career achievements have usually been overshadowed by his temper tantrums on the court and his active social life off the court.
But Paire believes his career has been good enough despite the fact that he has never reached the top. In the feature titled 'The Paire Minimum' that appeared in the latest edition of the Racquet magazine, the Frenchman pointed out that he has played in the sport's most prestigious tournaments and has even won three of them.
"I admire them (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) enormously, but I will never be like them," Paire said. "That doesn’t stop me from considering myself a champion. I was 18th in the world, I’ve been in the top 100 for 10 years, and I have three ATP titles: that’s a perfectly good career. Besides, my ex would tell me often enough: 'You’re a champion. You play in the biggest tournaments in the world, against the best players in the world'."
When I see Rafael Nadal win the French and 2 days later he’s training for the grasscourt season…It’s a different world: Benoit Paire
Benoit Paire went on to admit that he doesn't have the same drive and level of motivation as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic do. The Frenchman claimed he was amazed to see the dedication of Rafael Nadal, who doesn't rest even after winning a tournament as huge as the French Open.
Paire even joked that if he himself ever won Roland Garros, he would end his season right there.
"I respect them a lot and I think what they do and how invested they are is amazing," Paire said. "But damn, when I see Rafa win the French and two days later he’s training at Queen’s for the grass-court season… It’s a different world! If I won the French I don’t know if I’d go to Queen’s or even to Wimbledon. Actually, I think I’d end my season there! They are champions. Without them, tennis wouldn’t be where it is today."