Boris Becker reveals a Holger Rune attribute matched only by ‘benchmark’ Carlos Alcaraz
Tennis legend Boris Becker has lauded his protégé Holger Rune by declaring he has “never seen a player who can play tennis so quickly” – apart from Carlos Alcaraz.
The six-time Grand Slam champion explained that Rune “has such power in his arm and such good hand-eye coordination” which allows him to “hit the ball early and develop incredible pressure.”
Rune appointed Becker as his coach last month and the arrival of the former world No 1 helped him bounce back from a run of 10 losses in 11 matches from Wimbledon in July to Stockholm in October.
The world No 8 reached the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors in Basel and the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters to secure his qualification for the ATP Finals in Turin, which had looked in doubt.
On his debut at the year-end championships, Rune was eliminated in the group stage after losing two of his three matches, but produced encouraging displays in three-set defeats to Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner.
Speaking to Eurosport’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast, Becker stressed the importance of him being able to level honest criticism at the 20-year-old Dane.
“I have to have permission to say to him: ‘You really played crap today’. [He has to] be able to endure and tolerate that, because that’s the only way there can be progress,” asserted the German.
“If I told him after a lost match that he was unlucky and was the better player, then I would be the wrong coach.”
I am very excited to continue my partnership with @holgerrune2003 in 2024. We are building a team around Holger to bring out the best version of himself, on and off the court. pic.twitter.com/O3BaicY5VA
— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) November 19, 2023
The three-time Wimbledon champion highlighted a key quality he feels Rune possesses, while recognising his young rival Alcaraz is the “benchmark” in this area.
“I’ve seen a lot of matches, but apart from Carlos Alcaraz, I’ve never seen a player who can play tennis so quickly. He has such power in his arm and such good hand-eye coordination, which allows him to hit the ball early – and thus develop incredible pressure,” Becker assessed.
“Alcaraz has done this very successfully together with his coach for two years. That is the benchmark.”
Becker also revealed he had given Rune a “tennis ban” before he begins training for the 2024 season because he is “absolute tennis crazy in a positive sense.”
“Every now and then I have to say a serious word to him: ‘Holger, enough, no more. You’ve already trained for four hours today, the fifth one won’t do any good.’ The other way around it would be more difficult if you had to keep motivating the player to play more. With Holger I have to slow down more,” he said.
“We will then meet on December 4th in Monte Carlo for hopefully the first tennis training session, then the preparation on the court will begin.”
Becker coached tennis great Djokovic between 2014 and 2016 – during which time the Serb won six Grand Slam titles and 14 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.
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