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Taylor Fritz tells his Wimbledon opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, to ‘have a nice flight home’

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LONDON (AP) — Taylor Fritz told his Wimbledon opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, to “have a nice flight home” after beating him in a second-round match on Thursday.

The pair got into a bit of a back-and-forth at the net after the 13th-seeded American’s 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over France’s Rinderknech at the All England Club. This was a rematch of a 2023 French Open contest that Fritz won in front of a rowdy partisan crowd, which he shushed afterward.

Rinderknech made a reference to that earlier matchup during the leadup to Thursday’s meeting, and Fritz heard about it. And was not pleased.

“I’m a very chill person. I don’t do anything that could rub people the wrong way, so when someone kind of just goes out of their way to take a shot at me, then I’m not just going to take it,” said Fritz, who is from California. “It gave me the extra fire to win.”

So when it was time for the postmatch handshake Thursday, there were some words exchanged.

“I just said, ‘Have a nice flight home,’” Fritz recounted.

According to Fritz, Rinderknech responded by pointing out that he’s still around in doubles.

“I said, ‘Oh, congrats. Good for you.’ Then he started acting like, ‘Why are you blah, blah, blah?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, you know what you said. You know what you said.’ Don’t disrespect me before the match and then expect me to be all nice after the match,” said Fritz, who will take on 24th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo of Chile on Saturday for a spot in the fourth round. “That’s not how it works.”

At Roland Garros last year, spectators booed and whistled at Fritz after he eliminated Rinderknech, who was the last French man in the field. Fritz put a finger to his lips, then spread his arms to egg on the crowd and yelled, “Come on! I want to hear it!”


AP tennis:

AP Tennis Writer