According to his coaches and parents it wasn’t always apparent that Holger Rune would be a sensational talent. Holger Rune always had his will to win and a hatred for losing that was notably extreme.
However, as a young child he hated exercise even though he took up tennis when he was just three.
His trainer Lars Christensen admits that Holger hated his drills and he felt that he hated the coach too.
“The big work started when he was like 12, 13 years old and he was pretty lazy at that time and he didn’t really want to move so much,” Christensen said in an interview for an ATPTour.com feature.
“If he wanted to compete with the best and keep pursuing his dreams he had to be a better mover. I would go every day, I would have drills set up for him and he hated it and he hated me when I was doing it. But I just kept going day after day after day after day. [He had to] keep repeating the right things, keep repeating the right routines when you’re going to match days, having the right routines, having the right warm-up routines.”
Rune believes that he has derived greay benefit from those trials.
“When you see now, I thank him for that,” Rune said.
Rune needed to be in great shape to keep a phenomenal run going across the indoor swing ahead of his breakthrough Paris Masters title.
He said that the moment he won the ATP 1000 event it was like all his work had come to fruition.
“It felt unreal actually. It was a very emotional moment,” Rune said. “[I won the] title in Stockholm, finaled in Basel and then won in Paris. So it was such a long trip and run that I had. And you know, it was a big relief. I was a little bit in tears after that final because it was so much hard work. And I finally got over it and managed to win.
“I just had to let it all out. And to play this final against Novak, I mean, it almost can’t get bigger. So it was huge for me.”
His family have confirmed that he has always had the desire to win, relating an instance when he was livid after losing in the final of a junior tournament.
“He went bananas because he wanted to win. And we tried to calm him down and say, ‘It’s okay and go take your [runner-up] trophy.’ He didn’t want to accept the trophy,” Rune’s mother Aneke said.
“So we had to take it home in the back. When he came to his room he said, ‘Take down Rafa.’ At that time, Rafa was No. 2 and Roger was No. 1. And he said, ‘Put up, Roger.’”