Holger Rune’s temperament defended before Novak Djokovic Wimbledon showdown by Grand Slam winner

Ewan West
Holger Rune celebrates in his win against Quentin Halys at Wimbledon in 2024
Holger Rune celebrates in his win against Quentin Halys at Wimbledon

Grand Slam doubles champion Frederik Nielsen has backed Holger Rune over his temperament ahead of his Wimbledon clash with Novak Djokovic. 

Nielsen, who won Wimbledon with partner Jonathan Marray in 2012, believes Rune’s intense on-court personality is “just a signal of how much he wants it.”

Rune will take on seven-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic in a blockbuster last 16 clash on Centre Court at the 2024 Championships today.

The world No 15 has defeated Soonwoo Kwon, Thiago Seyboth Wild and Quentin Halys to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second straight year, having made the quarter-finals in 2023.

The 21-year-old Dane recovered from two sets to love down to avoid a shock upset against world No 22o Halys in the third round.

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Rune holds a 2-3 record against current world No 2 Djokovic, having defeated the legendary Serbian in the 2022 Paris Masters final and in the last eight at the 2023 Italian Open.

Djokovic won the pair’s two most recent encounters, which both came in November last year: at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals in Turin. This will be their first meeting on grass.

Nielsen, who reached a career-high doubles ranking of world No 17 in 2013, defended his Danish compatriot Rune’s behaviour.

“When I was that age, I was far worse than Rune is. The same was true for both my teammates and opponents,” Nielsen told SpilXperten.

“It might just look a bit more intense because there aren’t many like him, and because there’s a camera on him 24 hours a day. I never really thought it was that bad.

“He’s young, and to me, it’s just a signal of how much he wants it. He shouldn’t get rid of it completely, but he will probably figure out more and more when it is constructive and when it doesn’t help him as much.

“It’s hard to understand how much there constantly is. I’ve seen it when we’re at Davis Cup, where he can’t even warm up before a match.

“He can’t even be in the gym without some of the accredited people coming up to talk to him, and that’s from people who should understand the situation but still come and bother him.

“They pull and tug at him everywhere, so you have to ask them to give him some peace. [Rune’s mother] Aneke is also not someone who lets herself be pushed around. She fights those battles on her son’s behalf, and I think that’s really important for him.”

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