Holger Rune sees Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as French Open favourites

Pre-match Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Holger Rune has revealed he still considers Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to be the “biggest favourites” to win the 2023 French Open.

The world No 7 admitted, though, that he expects this year’s Roland Garros to be “more open” than recent editions and feels this will make it “more fun.”

Rune downed world No 1 Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open today – his second win in three matches against the Serbian. The 20-year-old also defeated the 35-year-old in three sets in the final of the 2022 Paris Masters.

The Dane has had an impressive clay-court season so far – reaching the final of the Monte Carlo Masters and defending his title at the ATP 250 event in Munich.

Rune will play either Casper Ruud or Francisco Cerundolo in the last four of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome.

Nadal has not played since January due to a hip injury, while Djokovic’s clay-court season has been disrupted by an elbow issue.

Following his victory over Djokovic, Rune was asked if he saw himself as one of the favourites for the French Open title.

“I still think, I mean, if Rafa is ready, Novak, I still see those two as the biggest favourites. Obviously there is [Carlos] Alcaraz also. There’s [Jannik] Sinner,” Rune said in his post-match press conference.

“There’s a couple of other guys that also did well in the clay season here this year. I see it maybe more open this year than the other years. It’s interesting. It makes it more fun. We’ll see. I’m just going to fight for every match I play.”

The 20-year-old then discussed whether his game poses problems for 22-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who he has now beaten twice in succession.

“I mean, I hope so. I’m trying to make it difficult for him (smiling). I think I’ve managed to do that now two times in a row, to make it difficult for him. But for sure he makes it very difficult for me also,” the Dane added.

“It’s a good battle every time we play. I like to battle with him. He’s a great player to play because he makes it so challenging for me, which I find that nice because I can really see where I have to improve, what is working.

“If it’s working against Novak, it works against almost anybody. So I’m super happy with the win.”

Rune reached the quarter-finals of the French Open last year on his debut at the tournament.

READ MORE: Holger Rune’s bad reputation a big lie insists Wimbledon winner