To start off my new series: Tennis Spotlight, I reached out to Junior ITF World Number 1 Holger Rune, an aggressive baseliner from Denmark who is only 16 years old. Holger had an amazing year in 2019. He won the junior French Open, the Junior ITF Finals in October, and was ranked as high as number 1 soon after the Finals. What amazes me is that he won his first French Open he ever played. 2019 was a hallmark year for him, but he has bigger goals for 2020. Holger is a very personable person, and he interacts with his fans on and off the court. He is very thankful for his fans and that can be seen on his Instagram.
Want a piece of inspiring advice from Junior World number 1? Read below to find out what he says!
- How did you first get into tennis?
Holger Rune: “My sister played tennis with some friends from school and then I wanted to start also, but I was not allowed to start before I was 6 years old at my club. So I played football until I could start”
2. Who do you idolize on tour?
Holger Rune: “Many inspiring players. Big idols from my childhood were Federer and Nadal, and today they are also Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime.”
Your Big Year:
3. How did you flip the switch in early 2019 and have an amazing end to the year?
Holger Rune: “I started the year 2019 too lazy and laid back. I did my practice but I was not giving 100% all the time. Then I failed to get results in the early tournaments and I was really disappointed with myself. I really felt that I paid the price for not being 100% focused in my practice and not taking my ambitions seriously enough. I asked my coach what to do and we made a list of what I had to improve on in order to be able to win grade 1 and A tournaments. From here I put in a lot of energy in every practice, including the tough ones that weren’t always fun. I was focused in everything I did on and off-court. I ate the right stuff, did my stretching, and properly warmed up, etc.”
4. What was going through your mind when you had a match point in the French Open Final to win your first ever grand slam?
Holger Rune: “I realized that I really wanted to win this tournament. At that point, it was 100% clear to me that I could win and I wanted this win more than anything in that specific moment. I got shaky and passive and the opponent took very good advantage of this. Kodat is a very good player so if you drop level at any point he is there immediately. In the third set, I used my energy very well. Meaning my desire to win came out positive and made me play very determined and focused on every point.”
5. Did you ever see yourself ending your junior career as world number 1?
Holger Rune: “Yes. I wanted to be number one. I was just not sure if it was going to be this year when the year started. After the French Open, it was clear to me that 2019 was the year.”
2020 and Your Transition to The Pro Tour:
6. Do you have any goals on tour for 2020?
Holger Rune: “Yes. I always do goals with my coach for every year. Now I start futures and challengers and have to work my way up. My short term goal is to be able to play challengers in the summer of 2020. This means I have to have around 75/100 points. From there, let’s see. My coach says top 3-400 end 2020. I really want to do better than that :-)”
7. What are you most excited about for the ATP tour?
Holger Rune: “It’s so professional. The whole environment around these tournaments, the players, the people. Like the best junior tournaments. You are among people with the same dream as you, who work towards goals and are passionate about the sport. I love being in this environment. It gives me inspiration and it makes me feel at home.”
8. What are you most unsure about the next level?
Holger Rune: “It’s all new. I have to learn a lot. Experience can’t be bought. You have to be there and learn from every match, every tournament. I really look forward to all of this.”
9. What do you think the biggest difference is in the junior ITF and ATP tour?
Holger Rune: “I think when I started to compete in the ITF junior tournaments, there was an age gap of 3-4 years. The other boys could be up to 3-4 years older than me. Now I can play men up to 20 years older than me. This means they have huge experience. I have respect for this and I just have to continue to believe in myself even though I don’t have the same experience as the others. Then I have to find my forces and focus there.”
Advice for young players:
10. If you can give one piece of advice to young tennis players, what would you say?
Holger Rune: “If you love the sport as much as I do, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. People don’t have to understand your passion or dream. It’s your dream. They just have to accept it. Then you have to work seriously for your goals. Nothing good comes easy so you can’t just dream- you have to work for it to happen. Enjoy the challenges in the process!”
I hope you enjoyed this player interview with Holger. This was the start of a special series on this page. Make sure you follow Holger on his first year on the pro tour. I have attached Holger’s website and Instagram profile to this post so please show him some love. Tell him The Tennis Prevision sent you!
I hope you all had an amazing holiday.
Stay tuned for a New Years Resolution Post coming Tuesday!