Holger Rune described as a mix of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

Ewan West
Holger Rune 2023 at the ATP Finals
Holger Rune reacts at the 2023 ATP Finals

World No 10 Holger Rune has been described as a mix of tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer by his performance analyst Mike James.

James, a performance specialist at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, highlighted Djokovic’s “repeatability and power” and Federer’s “flair and creativity” as attributes he sees in Rune.

Rune is currently in action at the 2023 ATP Finals in Turin, where he earned a win in his second match on Tuesday afternoon when Stefanos Tsitsipas retired through injury.

The Dane was leading 2-1 in the opening set when Tsitsipas pulled out after consulting the ATP physio during the first changeover of the match.

The 20-year-old was defeated in three sets by world No 1 Novak Djokovic in a high-quality contest in his opening match in Turin on Sunday.

Rune, who is making his debut at the year-end championships, will face Jannik Sinner in his final round-robin match as he looks to progress to the semi-final stage.

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In an interview with L’Equipe, James discussed the qualities that stand out in the young ATP star’s game and likened him to two all-time greats.

“His explosiveness, his creativity, his sense of the game mark me, but the most important thing is his mentality. He is the ultimate competitor, he has this obsession to win, even in table tennis!,” he said.

“Holger is curious, always asks questions and is in work mode all the time. He sometimes sends us, in the middle of a tournament, a message at 11 p.m: ‘What do you think of that?’

“Holger is Holger, he has his own game. But if I had to make a comparison, he could be a mix of Djokovic and Federer. Novak for repeatability and power, Roger for flair and creativity. This is an ideal, of course. But it would be nice to take half of each.”

In his press conference after losing to Djokovic, Rune discussed the dynamic between him and his box – including his coach, tennis legend Boris Becker – during the match.

“Yeah, I mean, it was great support from my team. I think they help me throughout every period of the match today, which is very nice for the player, that you feel you have the strong support behind you. It was small key things to stay focused on my serve,” explained the Dane.

“My first serve is very important against Novak because if you don’t put the first serve, you have a little bit of pressure because he returns so well.

“So, yeah, was small things to remind me on my identity of my game, to play on my terms, even though it’s difficult against Novak because he try to play on his terms. It was like a battle of which terms there was going to be played on, and he won that battle.

“(On Becker) It’s great. It’s really good. I mean, of course he’s right there. He’s been there many, many times himself, which helps. He can give out from his experience, give that to me on how to handle the things on the court, off the court.”

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