‘The fire’ in Holger Rune’s eyes | ATP Tour

‘The fire’ in Holger Rune’s eyes | ATP Tour

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‘The fire’ in Holger Rune’s eyes

Learn more about the mindset of the Break Point star

February 01, 2024

Holger Rune has climbed as high as No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

Holger Rune has climbed as high as No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings
By ATP Staff

Holger Rune has surged into the spotlight over the past couple of years with his tennis success, with highlights including his 2022 Rolex Paris Masters victory and qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in 2023. Fans got an even closer look at the Danish star in recent weeks, when he was featured in Netflix’s hit tennis docuseries Break Point.

Rune’s love for the sport and hunger for success came to life. One of the most notable moments of his episode came when he battled past Novak Djokovic in Rome.

Aneke Rune, Holger’s mother, told “In general I love to see the fire in his eyes. These matches against the legends, he knows that he cannot do anything wrong.

“You see him doing an effort in everything he does on court, which makes the match very exciting to watch. But also as a parent watching, it’s impressive to see that you can keep focussed, that you can make an effort in every stroke you do. You can think. You get proud when you watch this.”

Holger wears his heart on his sleeve and is unafraid of showing how much he cares, win or lose, and using those emotions to drive him forward. It was not shown in the show, but Aneke used his championship match loss in Rome to Daniil Medvedev as an example.

“He was very sad. It was tough. It was very emotional for him,” Aneke said. “To win against Novak is emotional, very big for Holger. To lose a final where you maybe know that you could have done differently, it’s also very tough. It’s emotions in two different directions but both of them are important emotions for the lesson of learning.”

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Aneke believes showing those emotions is important to reveal the full character of a player.

“When you don’t succeed and you put in your heart and your work and everything, it’s really tough,” Aneke said. “For instance, after losing the Rome final, it was like suffering. And I think this too is an important part, actually more important than the beginning of the episode.

“He’s not finding excuses and I think that’s also the way he was raised. He understands and he accepts that sometimes things are not going his way, but don’t try to find excuses. Keep working, keep finding solutions, keep doing the right things and adjust where you need to adjust with yourself, with your team, with whatever is needed to achieve your dreams.”

Rune’s fighting spirit and determination are clear throughout his episode of the series. According to his mother, the will to maximise his potential has been there since his first days holding a racquet.

He began playing under the guidance of the local club’s head coach, Lars Christensen, who would be by Rune’s side through his early years on the ATP Tour. But aged seven, playing two days a week, Holger faced a difficult situation.

“They hired another coach at the club and Holger was watching him. There were a lot of kids on the court and there were two coaches and the other coach was supposed to take the young kids,” Rune said. “The plan was this new guy should take over all the small kids. Holger went to me and he said, ‘I don’t want to have this guy as my trainer’.

“I said, ‘This is not up to us, it is up to the club who decides. You like to play tennis so if it’s him, it’s him. It’s not in my demand, I can’t do anything about it’. And Holger said, ‘Okay that’s fine, then I’ll stop [playing]’.”

Aneke believed the new coach was likely a fine instructor, but Holger was determined to work with the coach whom he believed was the best. Christensen found a way to include Rune and the young Dane never looked back.

“He has been like that, always,” Aneke said. “Also when he practised with other kids, if they were not taking it seriously, he didn’t want to be on court with them. Very, very early. It was crazy, actually.”

What Aneke is proud of is how Rune is always driven by his passion for tennis and love for the sport.

“It’s very tough to be perfect. And I think what we see today is in some kind of extreme way we seek perfection and expect perfection. What I like with Holger is that he shows, yes, we are working towards being perfect, but there is a lot of struggle also and you’re not born perfect,” Aneke said. “You’re not born perfect to fit into your sport or your study or your job. We all do it differently and there is failing on the way, we improve, we get up there again and we keep fighting. I think Holger is a very good example actually showing with his honesty all the way when he struggles, when it’s good times, when it’s bad times. This is how life is.”