Christensen On Rune's Rise, His Match vs. Djokovic & Extra

Holger Rune had a breakout season on the ATP Tour. As a 17-year-old in March, he certified in Santiago and have become the youngest tour-level quarter-finalist since 17-year-old Borna Coric in Umag in 2014. The Danish teen maintained his climb, ascending from exterior the High 450 within the FedEx ATP Rankings to the perimeter of the High 100.

Rune competed within the Intesa Sanpaolo Subsequent Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The 18-year-old has been coached since he was younger by Lars Christensen, who spoke to about his cost’s rise, character, going through Novak Djokovic and extra.

You’ve been working with Holger since he was younger. How did your relationship come about?
I used to be head coach in a membership in Denmark. I used to be answerable for all the pieces, teaching all the children. He got here when he was six-and-a-half as a result of his large sister was enjoying tennis. She was enjoying fairly effectively and I feel he began in the summertime season. 

Within the winter season, I began teaching all of the small children as effectively. I seen him very quick. He progressed so quick and was completely devoted to changing into tennis participant, in order that’s how I obtained his eyes on him within the first place.

What caught out to you about him?
He’s very emotional, very aggressive as effectively and really, very quick. He was completely devoted to tennis. To start with, he was enjoying a little bit of soccer as effectively and he was doing all types of leisure issues. However very [quickly], he simply needed to be a tennis participant. One week he was Rafa with the scarf and all of the gear. He needed to be like Rafa. The subsequent week he could be Federer and he was completely devoted to it. He actually beloved enjoying tennis. 

There’s normally a bump within the street. Did he have one and in that case, what was it? 
My principal focus to start with, like all the children that I coach, is to offer them sound approach. He was so desperate to study and he practised a lot at house. In Denmark, he was two, three years forward of his time. When he was eight he would beat the fellows who have been 11 or 12 years previous and he would do this with good approach and understanding of the sport as a result of he was watching a lot tennis. 

Once we began competing internationally, underneath 12, he was simply not bodily ok at the moment. He was technically higher than most gamers. If he performed half courtroom, he would win each time, however on a full courtroom, he was not shifting effectively sufficient. I made a decision we wanted to develop his physique and agility way more. 

He actually hated that as a result of he was lazy [as a kid], so we had some powerful instances at that second, making him perceive and work exhausting in apply and do issues with out the racquet, coordination drills and stuff like that. When he got here via it, he began beating the fellows at under-12 occasions and have become the very best participant in his age group. Every little thing paid off ultimately.  

Picture Credit score: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Are you able to recall examples of sending him to go for a run or one thing like that? 
There have been lots of instances he was screaming like loopy and crying as a result of he was refusing to do what I needed him to do. His mom could be on the facet forcing him to do the drills I needed him to do. However we’re greatest pals. 

How good is it on a private degree to observe him develop up from being a boy with a dream to being on centre stage? 
It’s a tremendous journey. It has not all the time been simple. When the connection is so shut, it’s exhausting to be skilled and never private. That separation between the private {and professional} relationship will be exhausting to separate. I’ve to be actually exhausting on him generally, however then I’ve to deal with him like my son. 

How a lot has he matured as an individual? 
It has been a troublesome transition from the juniors to the seniors. He’s actually working exhausting to get that dimension and maturity of his character and his recreation — to remain in there when it will get powerful. We’re actually working exhausting on that. 

For me, that is among the main points that must be developed within the subsequent 12 months or two if he actually needs to succeed. For me, he has the sport and all the pieces to succeed, however he must develop in his mentality. All these matches at this degree, it’s about constructing blocks and we’re climbing up slowly. We had some targets and we managed to attain our targets all over, so I’m certain we’re doing the correct factor. He needs it a lot. 

Earlier than he performed Novak Djokovic on the US Open and received a set in that match, he mentioned he needed to go and beat him. How good is it that he has that perception in himself? 
He has all the time been like that. When he was 10, he was 100 per cent certain he may beat the senior guys in Denmark and that was not attainable. However in his thoughts, it was attainable and that’s such a powerful view for a participant to have, as a result of if you happen to don’t imagine 100 per cent in your self, it isn’t going to occur. 

I’m extra real looking. I knew enjoying Djokovic on the US Open in his first Slam [would be tough]. If he performed some good tennis and confirmed his potential, I might have been actually completely satisfied. That’s what he did and that was implausible. However for him, it was successful or dropping and that’s gasoline for a participant and that is excellent. I don’t need to take that away from him. 

However my job is setting real looking targets, attempting to inform him all the pieces is feasible and in my view, there’s one step at a time. Taking one set towards Djokovic is one thing, however going the gap with Djokovic is one other story. 

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