American tennis pro Taylor Fritz tells Wimbledon opponent to ‘have a nice flight home’ after second-round win

 

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Taylor Fritz had a less-than-friendly send-off for Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech after their second round match at Wimbledon on Thursday. 

Fritz, the No. 13 seed, defeated Rinderknech 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the All England Club in what was a rematch of their previous meeting at the French Open in 2023. 

During their post-match handshake, Fritz admitted to telling Rinderknech to “have a nice flight home.” But as he explained, the comment wasn’t unprompted. 

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“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,” he said, via The Associated Press. “It gave me the extra fire to win.”

“When we shook hands, I just said, ‘Have a nice flight home.’” 

The “shot” Fritz was referring to seemed to reference a comment Rinderknech made before their match. 

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According to Tennis.com, Rinderknech made a remark about their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2023, where Fritz famously shushed the predominantly French crowd after defeating Rinderknech in the second round. 

“The atmosphere will be quieter (than at Roland Garros) and he won’t cry as much,” he said, according to the report. “He whined a bit, saying it was too noisy. I hold no grudge against him, but he was wrong if he thought the French crowd would send him kisses in between points.”

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According to Fritz, Rinderknech didn’t appear to appreciate the remark and reminded him that he’ll still be on the grass courts playing 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. That’s not how it works.”

Fritz will next take on 24th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo of Chile on Saturday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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