Marin Cilic (CRO) vs.  Benoit Paire (FRA)
Paire won their first encounter in 2013 in three sets and since then he has lost all subsequent matches. Paire has the game to challenge any player on any day; yet, as is often the case, it takes more than physical talent. Unfortunately for Paire, he is not the strongest player mentally or emotionally and has a tendency to completely unravel at the slightest provocation. Sadly, despite his talent, he continues to disappoint his fans and possibly his team by his repeated poor behavior on court and then to frustrate them further, he becomes disengaged and does not try in the end.
Why would any athlete choose to lose without fighting for victory? There are many reasons why someone would choose to, sub-consciously or consciously, lose a match. Unlike physical injuries, psychological injuries are more disturbing for players to handle and often more difficult to heal. Wanting to win so badly can actually trigger such internal stress that the player is actually unable to play at his or her best. If you are a perfectionist, the minute you make a mistake you will lose the desire to continue because it’s no longer perfect.
As I watched the match I could feel the tension building in Paire and after he tossed his racquet twice, I thought perhaps he had gotten rid of the tension; yet, he never settled. He seemed rather edgy and when things began to unravel, he could not refocus to counter the steady and calm attack from his opponent. If Paire wants to live up to his potential, he will have to work on his mental/emotional state. Cilic weathered the storm and came out victorious in three sets: 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
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