Protagonist of an electric match against Taylor Fritz, where the American ended up being booed by Suzanne-Lenglen, Arthur Rinderknech had experienced a comparable match in Australia in 2022, where the public behaved even worse according to his memories.
Decidedly, it is rich in emotions this start of Roland-Garros, between the magical night of Gaël Monfils against Sebastian Baez, or the unreal fight between Daniel Altmaier and Jannik Sinner on the Suzanne-Lenglen. Thursday evening, the match between Arthur Rinderknech and Taylor Fritz ended in a different kind of atmosphere, very hostile towards the American.
Fritz put his finger to his mouth on the match point, to invite the Lenglen public to shut up, who supported the last Frenchman still in the running until the end. In response, he was shouted down during his on-court interview. This scene caused a debate among followers and tennis lovers : is such a spectacle part of the game, does it bring salt to the meetings? Or is it too much, just disrespectful?
This Friday morning, it is tempting to remember that an atmosphere of this type is not a French exception, quite the contrary, even if we note that the French public has tended to let go a little more in recent years, in Bercy (remember Gaston-Alcaraz) or at Roland-Garros. But every player has seen this before, if not worse, at the US Open or the Australian Open. In 2022, Rinderknech himself had experienced a hostile atmosphere in Melbourne against Alexei Popyrin.
“We are not a sports country”, “we only see this attitude in France”…
Arthur Rinderknech at the Australian Open against Australia ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/O2XkkfcRAV
— Francois Rauzy (@RauzyFrancois) June 2, 2023
“I’m more in favor of having a bit of this football atmosphere, at least European football, reacted the French Thursday evening at a press conference. Yes it was comparable (with his match in Melbourne, editor’s note), it was almost exactly that. There were a few more people on the Lenglen, the stadium in Australia was a bit smaller. I think the Australians were much drunker than the French tonight. Then I don’t know, I wasn’t on Fritz’s side tonight. I do not know if we slipped sweet words to him at the edge of the stands. Anyway, I was. »
Fritz, obviously, ended the evening angry with the French public, even the win certainly helped him get a really good night’s sleep. Rinderknech, at the time, loved this Australian experience.
Rinderknkech had “tried to be respectful” in his joy
« It was totally madness, he confided after his match in 2022. It was on the verge of reasonableness, not always super fair play, but that’s part of the game. It was boiling hot, I enjoyed it, it was brilliant. But luckily I’m passionate and I love tennis because it’s sure that you can come out of a match like this with a good headache and a big disappointment.. »
Like Fritz on Thursday evening, Rinderknech won against Popyrin and against the public. After the match point, he did not hesitate to exult. ” It’s an expulsion of joyhe had to say. Trying to be respectful to the audience, because they’ve been huge too. We must say bravo to them, they pushed Popyrin for three hours. It was not easy to win so, at the end, I just wanted to tell them ‘Make me some noise one last time’, the one where you are a little defeated because in the end, I waxed, your Aussie. »
The opportunity to remember the best punchline of 2022, signed Arthur Rinderknech after his victory against Popyrin at the Australian Open in an atmosphere even more hostile than that of Lenglen yesterday:
“In the end, I waxed your Aussie for you.”https://t.co/7BKXSuVD7U
— Quentin Moynet (@QuentinMoynet) June 2, 2023
To go further, Rinderknech can also testify that there is a much more hostile place for tennis players: the American university circuit, where all shots are allowed.
“Part of my journey is the United States and US universities with fairly hot encounters where the public can often interact during pointshe recalled Thursday evening. I let you imagine if today the public had the right to yell at any time between the points, it could make the match a little crazy. Of course there were no stadiums like tonight with so many decibels, but it was a bit of folklore. For once I think it’s too much. On the other hand between the points, as long as during the point it is respected, that there are no people who will shout, screams in all directions which have nothing to do with the encouragement of the public, I’m more for it. It just makes the sport and the game so much better. »