Holger Rune does not hide his ambitions for the Masters 1000 in Miami, ready to take off on the artificial grass fields of the city in Florida. After the incredible rise in 2022 that made him one of the best tennis players in the world, this year he wants to confirm his strength, win against the best, striving for perfection, aware of the impossibility of this goal. The young Dane spoke to the press in the usual press conference before the start of the second thousand of the season, we report some striking passages of the two statements.
“Compared to last year, I’ve improved a lot in terms of safety and level of play. This year I continue this process, it is logical that I follow the program step by step and improve every year. Everything goes very fast. Now I’m number 8 in the world: that’s fine, but I’m still not satisfied. I want more but I don’t have to rush, I have to go step by step and I feel like a better player every day. I think it’s very important: I’m only 19 and I have to look at the big picture of my career.”
His approach to matches is almost brutal, he never spares himself, he is not afraid to show his emotions and he is ready for anything on the court: “I think tennis is an electric sport, I don’t hide it at all while I play. Even in a first or second round match, where you supposedly don’t push yourself to the limit, I’m just as hungry for victory. I think it’s something natural. I go to the square and it’s like I’m going to war. I always want to do everything I can to disarm the opponent by playing right.”
Rune doesn’t always manage to do his best due to his young age and often shows a rough character that not everyone likes. He goes his own way and is aware that not every day is the same: “I work very hard, but I also find it very important to really want to improve, to see that the work pays off and to enjoy every day. I love tennis so much that I want to be perfect even though I know I can’t be. However, I think that feeling better is what stops me from feeling emotions. There are no limits, that excites me. Some training days are worse than others. Some days I push myself to the limit and feel great, but there are days when you just don’t feel good and you have to keep pushing, real champions do that. It’s not about how you feel, you have to be disciplined and Give 100% no matter how you feel. It’s clear that you have to take care of your body, but I think consistency is a very important part of this sport.”
At the moment, Rune doesn’t seem to take defeat readily, but she says she sees it as a fundamental moment in her growth: “Defeats are the games you learn the most from. They make you think about how to do things. When you lose a game you think a lot, what did I do right and what didn’t I do right? What should I do to get better and win this match next time? At this level, they are very small but very important things, things that might not be that hard to do but are mentally difficult because you have to do them all the time. It’s an effort, but in the end there’s a very nice feeling to see them bearing fruit.”
Holger believes he already has the necessary tennis to win a Grand Slam while being aware that he needs to improve his mentality: “I have to be very consistent and disciplined. I think to win a Grand Slam I don’t miss tennis, it’s more about how to deal with the physical and mental strain. To get to the bottom of this, you have to live two very, very long weeks. Luckily you have days off between games, which helps a bit, but it’s exhausting. I reached the quarter-finals of Roland Garros and this tournament was like discovering a whole world for me. You have to relax when you have time because you’re exhausted, but also always stay focused. I feel like I need to keep improving my fitness and I’m doing that.”
Clear ideas, ambitious goals, Rune is certainly one of the most interesting tennis players with the greatest potential. As he correctly analyzed in his reflections, the obstacle to be overcome in order to reach the level of the best is to grow in the combination of physical and mental resilience. His overflowing moments aren’t enough to finish seven matches in three sets of five, you need to be able to maintain peak performance and concentration for much longer. He still experiences ups and downs, moments of raging rage that sap his concentration, phases where he tries to break the ball instead of waiting for the storm to pass, staying in the opponent’s wake. The Miami 1000 is still a big tournament, so it’s moving to clay. We will see how he approaches Roland Garros and the Grand Slam on clay where he could be one of the surprises.