Holger Rune completed a dramatic comeback to keep his place at Wimbledon
His mother couldn’t bear to watch and was spotted smoking a pack of cigarettes
For the final two hours of this breathless match, Holger Rune’s mother was pacing the streets of Wimbledon, smoking through a packet of cigarettes.
Aneke, who double’s up as the agent of the Danish 20-year-old, walked out of Court Three at the end of the third set, with her son trailing 2-1 to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Joined by coach Lars Christensen, she puffed away and waited for the time to pass, only returning once she heard the huge roar that greeted Rune’s remarkable fightback.
With his mother and coach in exile, Rune won the final two sets, roared on by the crowd as he survived two match points and fought back from 8-5 down to win 10-8 in the tiebreak.
Asked why she banished herself from the court, Rune’s mother told Mail Sport: ‘Because he was seeking out a lot. He was looking up all the time and, you know, we’re not the ones playing the match. It’s natural to seek some help when things are tough but the problem is nobody can help him.
We [mother and coach] talked about it and thought he was seeking too much help. The fitness and analytics guys stayed because he does not seek out them too much for solutions. We are a team so we do whatever it takes to make him win.
‘He needed to refocus and play the game. When I left, I saw he won the set but I thought, “You know what, I think I’ll stay out”. I was walking up and down the street smoking cigarettes. I was getting superstitious because every time I lit a cigarette he won a game! My mouth was so dry!’
Rune broke serve twice to snatch the first set, showing power and delicacy at the net, looking the most athletic of the two.
A former junior champion, Rune played the classier shots but his game was littered with errors, as Fokina snatched the second and third sets.
Tempers flared. Rune cursed in Danish and exchanged looks of thunder with his coaching team. ‘You’re so smart!’ he said, sarcastically in his mother tongue, growing frustrated at some of the feedback coming from his support staff after misjudged shots.
Rune’s serving game improved drastically, waving his arms to rev up the crowd as he fought back in the final sets.
‘It was unbelievable,’ said Rune, who has previously beaten Novak Djokovic. ‘It’s one of the most fun matches I’ve ever played.’