Taylor Fritz addresses ‘cocky’ allegations labelled against Holger Rune

Holger Rune during a match

Taylor Fritz has defended Holger Rune’s supposed “cockiness” saying any player who wants to be successful “needs to have some arrogance and confidence”.

Rune is one of the rising stars in men’s tennis and the Dane as well as his fellow young guns Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have been tipped to replace Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the Big Three in the sport.

Despite being on the big stage for only a couple of seasons, the 20-year-old Rune has become a very controversial figure in the men’s game as he has had run-ins with the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Casper Ruud.

Wawrinka accused Rune of “acting like a baby on court” while the youngster had a fallout with Ruud at last year’s French Open as he accused the Norwegian of shouting in his face, something that Ruud’s father dismissed as a “pure lie”.

Even tennis great John McEnroe got in on the act after the Roland Garros debacle as he said of Rune: “He’s got an attitude, you know, he’s cocky and I believe you need that. Be yourself. I think last year he was disrespectful to Casper [Ruud] in the quarter-finals.”

World No 9 Fritz was asked about the youngster’s perceived cockiness and replied during a Twitch stream: “I like Holger, I’ve never had any issues with Holger, we played doubles. I don’t think there’s any issues.

“I think he has big expectations and big ambitions, and I think people mistake someone saying that they want to be [a member of] the next Big Three, when you say you want to do all these great things, and people then mistake that for cockiness.

“But like, so what? I don’t think people understand, if you want to be successful, you need to actually believe it and you have to have some of that arrogance and confidence to you.”

Rune’s rise up the rankings

The Dane has been able to back up his confidence with brilliant displays over the past two years as last year he won three titles – including his maiden ATP Masters 1000 event at the Paris Masters with victory over Novak Djokovic in the final.

This year he won the Bavarian Open while he also finished runner-up at the Monte Carlo Masters and Italian Open and qualified for the season-ending ATP Finals for the first time in his career as he finished as campaign at No 8 in the ATP Rankings.

Rune was asked about reports that he is cocky during an interview with Tennis Majors earlier in 2023 and said: “I would not say that I am cocky. I am very down to earth. On the court I am different than outside the court.

“I just think it is because I am so passionate in what I do. I am very competitive. But when I am off the court I’m not like this, I am not cocky.”