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Tennis Update Paire is Hungry • Media Is Well Fed • A Wild Day 1 At Wimbledon

By Ricky Dimon


“It’s you fault! It’s your fault,” Benoit Paire shouted at chair umpire Carlos Bernardes as things were getting away from the Frenchman late in the fourth set of his Wimbledon first-round match against Juan Iganacio Londero.


Paire was furious that he had not yet been delivered any good, which he asked for earlier in the fourth set. Bernardes radioed for someone to bring some kind of sustenance, but nothing had arrived when the players changed ends with Londero leading 5-4.


“I asked for food five games ago and it’s still not here,” Paire seethed. “I’m hungry. There’s a restaurant right over there. I will pay you. I have money.”


Bernardes, of course, could not exit his chair and go purchase food for the Frenchman. Nor could he explain the delay, aside from saying that a tournament supervisor had been instructed to bring something.


Paire eventually fell behind 15-30 while serving to stay in the set at 4-5, which is when he started blaming Bernardes for his famished predicament. Nonetheless, the world No. 32 managed to hold for 5-5 and was then mercifully graced with four energy bars during the 5-6 changeover.


A reinvigorated Paire promptly held serve to force a tiebreaker and quickly finished off Londero for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) victory.


While Paire may be going hungry, I am happy to say that the media is enduring no such problems. Not only do we get 28 pounds per day on our pass (by comparison, we got only 12 Euros at the French Open), but both the quality and quantity of meal choices are also incredible. There’s a pasta bar, sushi bar, salad bar, pizza bar, carvery, cafe, all exclusive to the media, plus all of the restaurants that are also available to the public. It’s a smorgasbord of riches, almost too good to be true.


I’ve already been to the pasta bar (where you select your type of noodles, sauce, and whatever you want in it like chicken, some other protein, peppers, onions, etc.) three times…and it’s only the first official day of the tournament!


Of course, there was too much tennis going on–as there always is in the early rounds of any tournament–to spend a whole lot of time eating.


In addition to Paire, another fun outer-court match was Ernests Gulbis vs. Leonardo Mayer. Gulbis lost easily but not before getting into with Mayer’s camp. During a marathon second-set tiebreaker that the Latvian eventually dropped 14-12, he stated jawing at the Argentine’s team after what he felt like was too much support.


“You only say two words,” Gulbis quipped. “‘Bamos bamos.'”


That’s really only one word, but…whatever.


While Gulbis’ exit was no surprise, there were a whole host of more alarming results on Day 1 at the All-England Club. Naomi Osaka lost to Yulia Putintseva, Stefanos Tsitsipas got ousted by Thomas Fabbiano in five sets, and Alexander Zverev succumbed to qualifier Jiri Vesely.


Yes, in more ways than one it was a wild opening day in SW19.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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