LYON, France – Benoit Paire might have felt a little badly beating Félix Auger-Aliassime in the Lyon final Saturday.
Not enough to give him a shot at the title, as the 30-year-old Frenchman had an impeccable tournament.
And if he’s a little tired physically, he now has great momentum going into his home-country Grand Slam.
But when it was over, the Frenchman had almost no reaction.
And he quickly rushed to the net to console Auger-Aliassime, who had clearly been dealing with an injury in the second set.
Only after all that, after the handshakes, did Paire allow himself to leap with joy.
It was really kind of nice. There isn’t anyone around the game that we’ve spoken to about the 18-year-old Canadian – media, other players, tournament staff – who have anything but heaps of praise for the kid.
A shutout in his speech
Beyond all the concern at the net, Paire went out of his way to heap lavish praise on Auger-Aliassime as a human being during the trophy ceremony.
It was enough to make a guy blush. But Auger-Aliassime handled it with the equanimity that has been a major feature of his quick maturing process at the pro level.