American tennis star Taylor Fritz has ensured he will be given a brutal reception for the rest of his French Open campaign after an explosive win against local hope Arthur Rinderknech at Roland Garros. A hostile Parisian crowd did their best to get Rinderknech across the line but it was the American who left the home fans disappointed after a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win.
Fritz was jeered throughout the match by a vociferous home crowd, with the 25-year-old becoming increasingly irritated as fans sang the French national anthem in a desperate bid to push their last remaining hope into the next round. Pleas by the chair umpire for quiet during the rallies went unheeded as the partisan crowd in Paris bayed for blood.
The American World No.8 had the last laugh though, with Fritz mocking the boisterous local fans after booking his spot in the next round. Fritz placed his finger to his lips in a 'shoosing' gesture to the crowd, prompting an even louder chorus of boos to ring out from the stands.
Fritz then gave one of the most sarcastic post-match interviews, in which the American protested his love of the Parisian supporters. "The crowd was just so great that I had to let it fire me up. They cheered so well for me, I wanted to make sure I won. Thanks guys," the American said sarcastically in his on-court interview as the jeers continued.
While Fritz did his best to see the funny side of things, tennis fans were unimpressed with what had transpired. Many described the behaviour of the French fans as "disgraceful" and "shameful" and said Fritz had every right to react the way he did.
like i'm not even a taylor fritz fan, but i'm a TENNIS fan and his response was not nearly as bad as what the french fans did. they ugly!!! the best part is them booing him the entire match probably helped him win lol
— 건배해 to a better life (@generalbabo) June 1, 2023
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) June 1, 2023
— Love Truth (@nofearofmen) June 1, 2023
— Karen (@Karen58490329) June 1, 2023
Disgraceful scenes by French fans at @rolandgarros Taylor Fritz match. One thing to support your own player, another to continue behaving in a boorish manner. Shameful and rude.
— Ivan Macquisten (@IvanMacquisten) June 1, 2023
French hopes end with Arthur Rinderknech defeat
Rinderknech responded to the dramatic crowd scenes by drawing a heart in the clay on Court Suzanne Lenglen, as France's last hope in the men's draw bowed out in the second round. Of the 28 home players who started out in the tournament on Sunday, none managed to make the third round.
The only other time the host nation had suffered such an embarrassing wipe-out was 2021. "After hearing about it at least 200 times in the crowd, I was aware of it," said 78th-ranked Rinderknech of his country's woeful performance this week. "I did my best."
Fritz has now equalled his best ever performance at the French Open and will play Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo in the next round. Elsewhere, Aussie pair Alex de Minaur and Max Purcell both crashed to second round defeats to leave Thanasi Kokkinakis as the country's last player standing. De Minaur went down to Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3, while Purcell fell in a 4-6 6-2 7-5 6-4 loss to Yoshihito Nishioka.
Eighth seed Jannik Sinner suffered a shock defeat after being knocked out by German Daniel Altmaier in a five hour-26 minute marathon - the fifth longest match in tournament history. Altmaier saved two match points and then held his nerve on a fifth match point of his own in an absorbing 6-7 (0/7), 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 victory on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
On the women's side, top seed Iga Swiatek eased into the third round of the French Open with victory over Claire Liu, while Coco Gauff set up an intriguing clash with 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina also looked impressive as she saw off teenage Czech Linda Noskova.
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