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“The crowd was so great” – Taylor Fritz provokes French fans with post-match celebration

A defiant Taylor Fritz riled up the French crowd after his four set win over Arthur Rinderknech, gesturing at them to be silent in his post-match celebrations

Taylor Fritz UTS Los Angeles

Taylor Fritz had the unenviable task of playing Arthur Rinderknech, the last Frenchman remaining in the Roland-Garros draw, in front of a packed late-night crowd on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Thursday evening.

With the French fans avidly supporting the final French hope in Rinderknech, Fritz “the Hotshot” played the villain by provoking the crowd on several occasions. Most notably, immediately after Rinderknech struck a ball long to lose the match 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, the American held a finger to his lips to silence the crowd.

The result? A crowd that would not be silenced for the next five minutes, with boos raining down on the world No 9 so heavily that the on-court host Marion Bartoli had to stand closer than usual to conduct her post-match interview.

French Crowd react to Taylor Fritz win

“The crowd was so great cheering for me, I wanted to make sure I won”: Fritz plays the villain

Spare a thought for Fritz: every time he missed a first serve, the raucous French crowd would burst into applause. This is tough at the best of times, let alone when you’re down one set to none in the second round of a Grand Slam.

When asked about the match in his on-court interview, Fritz simply said, “The crowd was so great cheering for me, I wanted to make sure I won,” before walking off the court.

With his actions, Fritz has undoubtedly set himself up to be jeered all tournament long. It seems the American is unfazed, however, as he played a high level of tennis to win the match in four sets.

“I knew there would be quite a lot of atmosphere” – Rinderknech embraces the occasion

Six weeks ago, Rinderknech was contemplating whether or not to undergo an operation for a foot injury. Fast forward a month and a half, and he’s lighting up Court Suzanne-Lenglen against one of the best players in the world for four sets.

“If I had been told I would be running like mad after four sets on Lenglen with a great player and give all I had, I could not have thought about that.”

Rinderknech, Roland-Garros, 2023
Rinderknech at Roland-Garros, 2023 © Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

While the intense atmosphere of the match may have got under the skin of Taylor Fritz, it’s safe to say that Rinderknech enjoyed the experience.

“It was crazy. It was great. I really wanted to give them this fifth set. I could almost touch it. I was almost there but I didn’t manage it.”

“It was really unbelievable for me. Just makes me want to come back and work even harder to be better and stronger and just win these matches next time here.”

Next up, Fritz will face Francisco Cerundolo, in what will surely be an entertaining match with the crowd coming into play again.

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