Teenager Holger Rune Breaks ATP Record
The future of tennis is bright, with teenager Holger Rune making history at the Paris Masters, James McKenzie reports.
Danish Teenager Holger Rune signed his name into the tennis record books after his remarkable run to the Paris Masters title, his first ATP 1000 title of his career. He also became the first player to win a Masters 1000 tournament by beating five top-ten players to get there.
Rune had been quietly impressing tennis purists throughout the year, including an impressive run to the quarter-finals of the French Open beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov on the way before eventually losing to finalist and fellow Scandinavian Casper Ruud. It been his form over the last month that really put him on tennis fans’ radar though.
Rune won the Stockholm open, defeating Cam Norrie along the way and Tsitsipas again in the finals. Following that he went all the way to the finals in Basel, losing to the red-hot Felix Auger-Aliassime in the finals. But it was clear the 19-year-old was building towards something special, and he did exactly that in Paris.
Unseeded heading into the event, defeating former Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka in the first round was a real statement of intent as he looked to stamp his authority in France. That didn’t come without a spat at the net at the end of the match where the Swiss told him “My advice to you is that you stop acting like a baby on the court, ok?”.
The Dane was unfazed as he swept aside Hubert Hurkacz and Andrey Rublev in the rounds that followed, not dropping a set to either man. Those victories set up a quarter-final contest which gave us a glimpse into the future of the sport as he took on fellow 19-year-old and current world number one, Carlos Alcaraz. The match had much excitement and anticipation, two teenagers in red hot form competing in a prestigious tournament, but we were denied of the true excitement as it was cut short in the second set.
Rune had the Accor Arena stunned as he took a competitive first set 6-3, and they both went on to trade points on their serve in the second with either man refusing to budge. Alcaraz started to move less towards the end of the set, and when Rune tied the set up at 6-6 fans knew a tiebreak wasn’t going to be coming as Alcaraz had to leave the court with an injury, sending Rune to the semi-finals.
He comfortably saw off Auger-Aliassime, the man who defeated him in Basel in straight sets, setting up a final showdown with an idol, of his, the ever-imperious Novak Djokovic.
You would be forgiven the ending was a forgone conclusion when Djokovic took the first set 6-3, breaking the Dane’s powerful serve as well, but Holger was determined to rip up the script.
Rune quickly broke Novak in the second set, and went on to win the second set 6-3. The tension was building in the Accord Arena as both men took their turns breaking serve. Rune was able to get the ever-important break of serve to lead 6-5, knowing that if he won the next game he would win his first Masters title.
The final game was one sent from the tennis gods with Rune saving 6 break points to win the set 7-5 and defeat the 6 time champion in Paris.
The youngest winner of the Paris Masters since Boris Becker in 1986. His first appearance in the top-ten, setting him up as the alternative choice for the ATP Finals in Turin. It’s the first time two teenagers have been in the top-ten since Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic back in 2007.
People often ask how tennis will survive when the big 3 decide to hang up the boots. When you look at players like Holger Rune and Carlos Alcaraz, it seems that the future of tennis will be just fine.