Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune was scrolling Instagram on Friday night after qualifying for the US Open when he received a textual content from a buddy. “You’re taking part in Novak within the first spherical,” it learn.
“I used to be like, ‘Yeah, yeah,’” Rune informed ATPTour.com. “Generally they simply say issues as a result of they knew he was taking part in a qualifier.”
However then Rune, a #NextGenATP star from Denmark, checked the draw and discovered it was true. The 18-year-old will play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic within the first spherical of his first main major draw.
“At first my coronary heart was like, ‘Whoa’. It was form of loopy,” Rune stated. “He’s an unimaginable participant, he’s a legend, so it’s going to be enjoyable for me. I imagine I’ve the extent to play with everybody on Tour, so it’s going to be a very attention-grabbing match for me.”
It’s a dream place for Rune, who started his tennis journey 12 years in the past on the age of six. His sister, Alma, had begun taking part in the game and Holger determined to present it a shot.
“I got here to attempt it and I assumed it was a superb sport,” Rune stated. “Since then, I can’t say I used to be 100 per cent in tennis, as a result of I went to highschool as nicely, however I’ve had a lot ardour for tennis my entire life and it simply continues. It’s nice.”
Photograph Credit score: Pete Staples/USTA
The #NextGenATP star loves spending time along with his household, however outdoors of that every one of Rune’s focus is on tennis. When requested what his excellent day would appear like with out the game, he stated, “I’d like to observe some tennis”.
Almost two years in the past, aged 16, Rune ascended to the highest spot on this planet junior rankings, and he has wasted little time making his mark on the skilled circuit. Final week, the Dane grew to become the fourth teen since 2010 to win back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles, becoming a member of Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz and Carlos Alcaraz.
This time final 12 months, Rune was No. 732 within the FedEx ATP Rankings. Now he’s World No. 145 and the primary Danish man to compete within the US Open major draw since Kristian Pless in 2006.
Rune has not performed a Prime 10 opponent, however he’ll enter the match snug with Djokovic throughout the web. In March, Rune knew that Djokovic was not competing in Miami, and he wanted somebody to practise with on clay. So when the Dane noticed a video of the Serbian sweeping a clay court docket, he reached out to the World No. 1 on Instagram they usually organized two follow periods on the Monte-Carlo Nation Membership.
“He was so variety and we received the follow organised and had two superb practices with one another at an excellent stage,” Rune stated. “It was nice, he’s an incredible man.”
The teenager made two Instagram posts on the time that clearly confirmed how a lot he loved the expertise of coaching with Djokovic. However he additionally received to see up shut how robust of a participant the 34-year-old is.
“I believe his consistency is unimaginable, how he simply retains hitting the ball in the identical spot in a diverse stage of tempo,” Rune stated. “That was most likely essentially the most spectacular factor.”
The US Open singles major draw got here out on Thursday, earlier than Rune had earned his spot. The 18-year-old noticed that Djokovic drew a qualifier, however he targeted on qualifying as an alternative of letting his thoughts wander to the opportunity of taking part in the highest seed.
“Now that it’s been a [couple] days, I’m really joyful,” Rune stated. “That is the place I need to be, that is my dream, that is what I need to do the remainder of my life.”
Nevertheless robust will probably be, Rune is conscious that he’s the primary participant who can cease Djokovic’s pursuit of the Grand Slam. The World No. 1 can change into the primary man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all 4 majors in a single season.
“He has rather a lot to play for on this event,” Rune stated. “He can win 4 Grand Slams in a single 12 months, so there’s clearly stress on him. However after all he is aware of that and he is aware of the way to take care of it. After all he has rather a lot to win.”
The Dane is aware of that these are all new experiences for him, and that Djokovic is a 20-time main champion. However he won’t stroll onto the court docket inside Arthur Ashe Stadium underneath the lights on Tuesday night defeated earlier than the match begins.
“I’ve numerous perception in myself despite the fact that I’m up in opposition to the World No. 1. Quite a lot of gamers would simply say go on the market, have enjoyable, get the expertise and benefit from the second,” Rune stated. “After all I’m going to try this as nicely, however my purpose isn’t just to play right here. My purpose is to win this event, even many occasions.
“Possibly 90 per cent of individuals on this planet would most likely say that’s unrealistic proper now, however I’ve to imagine in myself. I imagine in my recreation, me and my coach and my mother are enhancing my recreation day by day, my mentality and every part. I’m actually working arduous for this.”
If there’s one factor Rune desires followers watching him for the primary time to remove from the match, it’s not a technical talent.
“I’m an actual fighter on the court docket. I’ll attempt to do as greatest as potential, I’ll combat for every level and attempt to be in there for so long as potential and play with him,” Rune stated. “After all he’s an enormous favorite for the match. He’s World No. 1 and I’m not even Prime 100 but, nevertheless it’s going to be enjoyable and I simply need to go on the market and actually do my greatest.”
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