I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water in Auckland, but it seems the players have no problem whipping out the famed ‘tweener this early in the season. Gael Monfils was spotted giving it a go, but it’s fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire who threw his hat in the ring for Shot of the Year contention.
In his second-round match against Taiwan’s Rendy Lu, Paire drew Lu into the net with a drop shot to the backhand side and followed in behind it. When Lu tried to feather a backhand back down the line, Paire leaped in the air to execute a front-side tweener lob for a winner. The fact that Paire chose to go for the trick shot on game point while he was already down a set further cements his reputation as an audacious-when-it-works/stupid-when-it-fails shotmaker.
Commentator Robbie Koenig’s reaction to the shot is perfect. “Oh, he’s made it! Stop it. Grigor Dimitrov, take a look at this!” Koenig was referring to Dimitrov’s behind-the-back touch volley in Basel last year. Here’s the video: