Holger Rune, the other little prodigy we didn’t see coming

at Roland Garros,

Stefanos Tsitsipas probably broke a record at Roland on Monday: that of the fastest finish in conf in history after a match. His executioner in the round of 16, young Holger Rune, was still on the field putting down the rackets the Greek had already announced on his way to the press room. This shows the frustration of the world’s number 4, last year’s finalist in Porte d’Auteuil and who, of course, hoped for something other than this premature elimination from the road.

But Tsitsipas fell for a little prodigy who tumbles like a plane on the big track. Holger Rune so 19 years old and an angelic face that you really shouldn’t trust. Ranked 450th in the world early last year, he will soon be a Grand Slam top 20 and quarter-finalist for just his third entry into a major tournament. So there would be another little genius lurking in the shadow of Carlos Alcaraz.

For just over three hours on Center Court, the Dane drove his opponent crazy, with his big serves and laser-like backhands down the line. Most of all, he captured all the key moments, despite body language suggesting the impending implosion. “He plays with a lot of emotions, which makes him a very unique opponent,” Tsitsipas said after the game. It seems that there is always something that bothers him when he plays. It’s weird, it’s something you don’t see very often. But suddenly he starts playing fantastic. †

It is indeed one of the hallmarks of the good man. But he does take care of himself, according to his mother, who entrusted him The team this Monday morning. “In tennis you learn the hard way, on the court. Alone,” recalls Aneke Rune, who follows the son at all his tournaments. The latter carries a lot of self-confidence for his age. “If I play my game, I think I can beat almost anyone on the track,” he said during the debriefing.

The Federer Model

The Dane sets no limits, and if we’ve just let go of Tsitsipas, it’s not the prospect of running into Casper Ruud on his way to the semi-finals that’s going to be terrifying. “The battle will be fierce, but I have every chance,” says the youngster, who had danced with Zverev at his home in Munich in April. Regardless, he sees himself as nothing short of the world’s No. 1 since he started pedaling at the age of 7.

His mother tells this anecdote that says everything about his character. For his first tournament, little Holger finished second. A tragedy he had experienced very badly. “When he got home, he tore all the posters of Nadal in his room. Nadal was number 2 at the time. And Holger told us: ”From now on I’m a Roger Federer fan!” The Swiss also had his little mood swings when he got to the big boys. We saw what happened when he learned to channel his energy.