Holger Rune speaks as he plays tennis — at a crazy fast pace, barely stopping to take a breath. His thoughts are deep and direct, as if he has much to say but not much time to say it.
Rune’s footwork is exceptionally speedy, and his ascent up the rankings has kept pace. In only one 12 months, he rose from outside the world’s Top 100 to a Top 10 rating. He went from playing in lower-level tournaments at the start of 2022 to winning ATP events in Munich, Stockholm and Paris. On the Paris Masters, he upset five Top 10 players, including world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and 21-time Grand Slam singles winner Novak Djokovic, whom he beat in the ultimate. At just 19, Rune was the ATP’s Newcomer of the Yr, ending the season at No. 11.
But there have been problems for the Dane, whose squabbles with umpires, players and even his omnipresent mother, Aneke, garnered him unwanted attention. A verbal rumble after a loss to Casper Ruud within the quarterfinals of the French Open last 12 months had each players accusing one another of insults and untruths.
For Rune, who begins contesting his second Australian Open this Monday, it’s all a part of the maturation process.
The next interview has been edited and condensed.
Last 12 months, you lost your first-round match on the Australian Open to Soonwoo Kwon after leading by two sets to at least one. What do you remember about that match?
I used to be still very inexperienced, and it was physically and mentally hard to play five sets. After the third set I began cramping somewhat bit. Now I even have tackle playing long matches. It’s about saving some energy, and you’ll be able to only get that by experience.
You were the No. 1 ranked junior on the planet in 2019. Some juniors find the transition to the professional tour very difficult, but for you it was seamless. Why?
Initially, it wasn’t easy though it was going quick. For me it felt prefer it took a variety of time, but on paper it didn’t. I used to be very eager and took all of the steps. I even have a giant will to undergo any challenge I get on my option to getting closer to my dream. That’s my focus daily that I step on the tennis court.
In juniors, it looked such as you played best on clay courts. Then you definitely won 19 of your last 21 matches last 12 months indoors on hard courts. Is that your recent surface?
That’s query. I don’t know truthfully if I’m a clay-courter or a hard-courter. It depends. That’s why when people ask me if hard, clay or grass is my favorite surface, I’d say all of them.
Last 12 months you added Patrick Mouratoglou to your coaching team, but you’ve been working with Lars Christensen because you were very young. What’s crucial thing Lars has taught you?
I’d say the discipline. When you take a look at me now from five years ago, I’m very different. I’m more structured in all the things I do, on the court and off. Lars can also be very technical. He’s still attempting to help me learn stuff, and I’m very desperate to improve.
You had huge wins over Djokovic, Alcaraz and [Alexander] Zverev in 2022. Which one meant essentially the most?
I had one against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas too. But I’ve got to say, all of them in a way. But at once I’d should say Novak. To play him in a final with all the emotions and stuff could be very big.
You set a goal last 12 months to be within the Top 25, and also you made it to the Top 10. Did that surprise even you?
Once you stay within the moment you’re not surprised when all the things goes so fast. But after I look back, I feel very happy with what I achieved. Rating goals are essential, but you’ll be able to’t really control them since it relies on so many things. I’m glad with how things are going, and I’m very motivated to be in the perfect shape as possible in Australia.