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Auger-Aliassime Outlasts Berrettini In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Auger-Aliassime Outlasts Berrettini In Cincinnati

Canadian advances to face Mannarino at ATP Masters 1000 event

Will a return to Cincinnati be the catalyst for a Felix Auger-Aliassime resurgence in 2023?

The 12th-seeded Canadian dug deep Monday for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph against Matteo Berrettini in a tense first-round encounter at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. Auger-Aliassime recovered impressively from dropping the opening set on Grandstand to notch his second win in six Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings with the Italian.

Arriving in Ohio on a five-match losing streak, Auger-Aliassime was handed one of the toughest first-round draws possible in seven-time tour-level champion Berrettini. Yet he outhit the Italian by 25 winners to 13 en route to a two-hour, 25-minute confidence-boosting triumph.

“It’s a big win. It’s been a tough year, dealing with new things,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Every win that I get, I’m happy, from now on. Of course the tournament has just started and I want to go further. I still have high ambitions. I never doubted myself.

“There’s comments right and left, but at the end of the day I know my tennis didn’t leave me. I know I can still play great tennis and I’ve proved it today again. So I’m going to try to keep going that way and it’s a positive start. Let’s try to keep this rolling.”

<a href=Felix Auger-Aliassime snaps a five-match losing streak to reach the second round in Cincinnati.” />

Auger-Aliassime let slip two break-back points in the final game of the first set before Berrettini moved ahead in their first meeting of 2023. He later acknowledged that disappointment had spurred him on as he converted three of the four break points he earned across the second and third sets for a hard-fought victory between two players striving to rediscover their top level.

“I think I was able to turn my frustration from the first set and from the missed opportunities and errors into something positive,” said the 23-year-old. “I think I had that fire inside that I didn’t want to quit on anything during this match and it’s great that it turned out my way. I’ve been training well, trying my best, and when the results [come] it is a great feeling. I’m very relieved, it’s a good win, and the effort has to keep going now.”

The four-time tour-level titlist Auger-Aliassime reached the quarter-finals in Cincinnati in both 2021 and 2022. His second-round opponent at the Lindner Family Tennis Center will be Adrian Mannarino, who prevailed 6-4, 6-3 in an all-French encounter with Richard Gasquet on Sunday.

“Every match is different. I can’t take anything for granted,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It was a tough first round, but it’s not going to get any easier. The lesson is just to take that type of energy that I had today and just bring it day after day and see how far that leads me.”

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18-Year-Old Prizmic Wins First Challenger Title

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

18-Year-Old Prizmic Wins First Challenger Title

Argentine Olivieri triumphs in Dominican Republic, rises into Top 150

Two #NextGenATP players made a splash on the ATP Challenger Tour this past week.

Dino Prizmic, 18, continued his rapid rise by winning the Banja Luka Open on Sunday while Italian Matteo Gigante collected his second Challenger trophy of the season, claiming the Serena Wines 1881 – Acqua Maniva Tennis Cup on home soil. All five of this week’s Challenger champions rose to career-high rankings on Monday.

Prizmic downed fifth seed and Belgian Kimmer Coppejans 6-2, 6-3 in the final to become the youngest Croatian champion since a 17-year-old Borna Coric in 2014. Prizmic, who won this year’s Roland Garros boys’ singles title, is the first player to win a Grand Slam junior crown and a Challenger title in the same season since Wu Yibing in 2017.

“It’s an amazing feeling because this is my first Challenger win,” said Prizmic, who is at No. 175 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “I hope I will continue like this. I’m very happy because this year’s work is showing up.”

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A quarter-finalist at last month’s ATP 250 event in Umag, Prizmic is the second-youngest Challenger winner of 2023, only behind 17-year-old Jakub Mensik, who won in Prague in May.

In an all-#NextGenATP final, Gigante cruised past Austrian Lukas Neumayer 6-0, 6-2 in Cordenons, where the third-longest active Italian Challenger was celebrating their 20th anniversary.

The Rome native, who won his maiden Challenger title in Tenerife in February, joins Luca van Assche and Dominic Stricker as #NextGenATP players with titles on both hard and clay this season (Challenger level). Following his triumph in Cordenons, Gigante climbed to World No. 162.

<a href=Matteo Gigante wins his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Cordenons, Italy.” />
Matteo Gigante wins the Challenger 75 event in Cordenons, Italy. Credit: Antonio Ros

Australian Adam Walton secured his maiden Challenger title in Cary, North Carolina, where the 24-year-old saved two championship points to down Nicolas Moreno De Alboran 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 at the Atlantic Tire Championships I.

“I haven’t been playing Challengers for that long, so I haven’t played many of these guys before so it’s all very new to me, but I’m excited for what the future holds,” Walton said. “It’s my first Challenger title so I’m very happy to get that one.”

Walton is the seventh different singles winner from the University of Tennessee in Challenger history (since 1978). At a career-high No. 206 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Walton is the 11th Challenger champion of 2023 to have competed collegiately in the United States.

<a href=Adam Walton wins the Challenger 75 event in Cary, North Carolina.” />
Adam Walton wins the Challenger 75 event in Cary, North Carolina. Credit: Atlantic Tire Championships

Briton Jan Choinski earned his second career Challenger trophy by winning the M.A.R.A Open in Meerbusch, Germany. The 27-year-old ousted Argentine Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-4, 6-0 in the final.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have finally clinched the victory at this remarkable tournament,” said Choinski, who rose to World No. 129 on Monday. “I had reached the finals here in Meerbusch back in 2018, so to be able to carry it through to the end now is truly gratifying.”

<a href=Jan Choinski celebrates winning the Meerbusch Challenger.” />
Jan Choinski celebrates winning the Meerbusch Challenger. Credit: M.A.R.A Open

Last month, Choinski made his major main-draw debut at Wimbledon, where he advanced to the second round. The German-born player has reached at least the semi-finals in four Challenger tournaments this year.

Argentine Genaro Alberto Olivieri survived more than four hours on court Sunday to win the RD Open in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where rain forced the 25-year-old to play his semi-final and final matches on the same day.

Oliveri escaped countryman Marco Trungelliti 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the championship match to lift his second Challenger crown and first of this season. Oliveri made his Grand Slam main draw debut this year at Roland Garros and has since ascended to World No. 145.

“I have been growing a lot, more than anything I have been encouraging myself to play better, to pick up rhythms, to serve better, to return [better], I think we are seeing those results,” Oliveri said in Spanish. “I feel like I’m in the best moment of my career and I feel like I’m playing the best tennis of my life too.”

In ATP Challenger Tour doubles action, American duo Evan King and Reese Stalder (Cary champions) and French pair Manuel Guinard and Gregoire Jacq (Meerbusch champions) both won their tour-leading fourth team titles of 2023. They join Ivan Liutarevich and Vladyslav Manafov atop the doubles title leaderboard.

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Dimitrov's Note To Self: 'Make Stronger Steel'

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Dimitrov’s Note To Self: ‘Make Stronger Steel’

The Bulgarian discusses Federer comparisons

“Always embrace it. I think that’s the beauty of it, in the sport that we’re playing. And you can transfer that to life.”

The 32-year-old Grigor Dimitrov knows that life on the ATP Tour can feel like an incredible privilege or an extremely frustrating endeavour. But the hard times only serve to “make a stronger steel”, according to the Bulgarian.

That pearl of wisdom is among the messages Dimitrov shared with his younger self as part of ATP Uncovered’s ‘Note To Self’ Series.

Dimitrov also touched on the constant comparisons to Roger Federer that have followed him throughout his career, explaining how he finally learned to accept it as he became more comfortable with his own path.

“Being compared to Roger Federer for, I don’t know, 20 years already. How about like drop it, let it go,” he said in part. “I just handled it. I made a name for myself.”

Watch the full video to see how Dimitrov would coach his younger self to deal with that challenge and the many other obstacles that are part and parcel of a career on the ATP Tour.

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First Among Equals: World No. 1 Record Breakers & Shakers

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

First Among Equals: World No. 1 Record Breakers & Shakers

Djokovic holds the record for most weeks at No. 1, Alcaraz youngest year-end No. 1

From Novak Djokovic’s record seven year-end No. 1 presented by Pepperstone finishes to Roger Federer’s 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1, several ATP Tour stars have smashed the record books at the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings by providing a lens on some of the most historic World No. 1 achievements.

<a href=Novak Djokovic” style=”width:;” />
Photo Credit: Getty Images/ATP Tour
Year-End ATP No. 1 Presented By Pepperstone
Novak Djokovic made history on 6 November 2021 when he secured the year-end No. 1 presented by Pepperstone for a record seventh time, eclipsing the mark he previously shared with Pete Sampras. Djokovic, who ended the season atop of tennis’ mountain for the first time in 2011, lifted at least one major every year that he secured the year-end No. 1 (also 2011-12, ’14-15, ’18 and 20).

“Just proud and extremely happy. Obviously that was one of the biggest goals and it’s always one of the biggest goals, to try to be No. 1 and end the season as No. 1,” Djokovic said at the time. “To do it for the record seventh time and surpass my childhood idol and role model, Pete, is incredible. Very grateful, very blessed to be in this position.”

The lowest he fell since first rising to No. 1 came in May 2018 when he dropped to No. 22, spending a total of six weeks outside the Top 20. The Serbian, who missed the second half of the 2017 season with an elbow injury, held a 6-6 record across the first five months of the 2018 season. He ended the year strongly, though, clinching four tour-level titles, including Grand Slam crowns at Wimbledon and the US Open, resulting in him ending the year ranked No. 1 for the fifth time. 

Djokovic’s most successful season came in 2015 when he tallied a 82-6 record. The Serbian lifted trophies at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open that year and reached the Roland Garros final. He also won six ATP Masters 1000 crowns and the Nitto ATP Finals title in 2015.

While Djokovic holds the ATP record of seven year-end No. 1 finishes, Sampras remains the only player in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to own six consecutive year-end No. 1 finishes.

After Sampras secured the year-end No. 1 for the first time in 1993, Jimmy Connors’ five straight year-end No. 1 finishes between 1974 and 1978 kept the American hungry in the 1990s. Aiming for a record sixth consecutive year-end No. 1 finish in 1998, Sampras was seriously challenged for the top spot. He added six tournaments — Basel, Vienna, Lyon, Stuttgart, Paris and Stockholm — to his schedule between the US Open and ATP Tour World Championships [now named Nitto ATP Finals] in a bid to finish year-end No. 1. Marcelo Rios, his nearest challenger, who’d spent six weeks at the summit earlier in the year, did likewise, travelling from Munich, Singapore and Santiago, before flying back to Europe in search of rankings points.

Come the season finale in Hanover, Rios’ chances were scuppered by a back injury and on 26 November 1998, Sampras, aged 27, found out that he’d secured year-end No. 1 for the sixth straight year while eating pasta back at the hotel.

Overall, 18 players have secured the year-end No. 1 presented by Pepperstone.

Player  Years
1) Novak Djokovic
2) Pete Sampras 6
3T) Jimmy Connors 5
3T) Roger Federer 5
3T) Rafael Nadal 5

<a href=Pete Sampras” style=”width: 100%;” />
Pete Sampras, who holds the record for six consecutive year-end No. 1 finishes, spent a total of 286 weeks at No.1, trailing Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images
Most Weeks At No. 1
In July 2011, Djokovic downed Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final to capture his first title at the grass-court major. The Serbian’s run lifted him to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on 4 July 2011. Twelve years on and the 36-year-old has spent a record 389 weeks at No. 1, 79 weeks more than second-placed Roger Federer (310). In February 2023, the Serbian achieved another historic milestone, overtaking Stefanie Graf’s (377 weeks) record for most weeks by a men’s or women’s tennis player as World No. 1. 

Djokovic broke Federer’s record for most weeks at No. 1 on 8 March 2021, holding top spot in the rankings across nine different stints. Since first rising to No. 1, Djokovic has captured 20 majors and 29 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Half of the players in the Top 10 when Djokovic first rose to No. 1 have since retired: Roger Federer, Robin Soderling, David Ferrer, Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick.

Djokovic spent 122 consecutive weeks at the summit of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings between 7 July 2014 and 6 November 2016. This was his longest streak at No. 1. 

Player Weeks
1) Novak Djokovic 389
2) Roger Federer 310
3) Pete Sampras 286
4) Ivan Lendl 270
5) Jimmy Connors 268

<a href=Roger Federer” style=”width: 100%;” />
Roger Federer celebrates winning the Australian Open in 2018. The Swiss star spent 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Most Consecutive Weeks At No. 1
While Djokovic has spent the most weeks at No. 1, Federer holds the record for the number of consecutive weeks in top spot with 237. The longest uninterrupted No. 1 reign in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history began on 2 February 2004, when Federer dethroned Andy Roddick from No. 1 with his triumph at the Australian Open. He then embarked on an unprecedented period of dominance on the ATP Tour, remaining at No. 1 until 17 August 2008, when he was usurped by Nadal.

In the 237 consecutive weeks Federer spent at No. 1, he lifted 43 tour-level trophies, including 10 majors and three Nitto ATP Finals crowns.

Prior to Federer’s historic run, Jimmy Connors held the record for the most consecutive weeks. The American climbed to No. 1 for the first time on 29 June 1974 and was not displaced until 23 August 1977, spending 160 consecutive weeks at No. 1.

But it could have been so much longer.
Connors lost the five-set 1977 Wimbledon final to Bjorn Borg, with the Swede at the time calling himself the unofficial No. 1 “for the moment”. Borg officially rose to No. 1 almost two months after the Wimbledon final, but stayed there for just one week before Connors wrestled back the mantle and held it for another 84 weeks. Had the American not been displaced for one week, his reign would have been 245 weeks, a record that would still be standing today.

The American enjoyed a total of nine stints at the top, with his final one coming in June 1983, when he enjoyed a three-week period at No. 1. Connors’ record streak of 160 weeks stood for 29 years, with Federer beginning his 161st consecutive week at No. 1 on 26 February 2007.

Connors was ranked in the world’s year-end Top 10 on 16 occasions between 1973 and 1988, and his five year-end No. 1 equals those of Federer and Nadal.

“There is only one No. 1,” Connors said. “It’s a lonely spot, but it has got the best view of all… Being No. 2 is like being No. 200.”

Player Weeks
1) Roger Federer 237
2) Jimmy Connors 160
3) Ivan Lendl 157
4) Novak Djokovic 122
5) Pete Sampras 102

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz” style=”width: 100%;” />
Carlos Alcaraz with the year-end ATP No. 1 Trophy presented by Pepperstone in 2022. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Youngest No. 1s
Aged 19 years and 131 days, Alcaraz became the youngest No. 1 in Peppertone ATP Rankings history last September after winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. With his victory against Casper Ruud in New York, Alcaraz became the first teenage World No. 1 and fourth man from Spain to achieve the feat, joining coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Nadal.

The then-19-year-old arrived at Flushing Meadows as the No. 4 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. His leap to World No. 1 was tied for the biggest in history. Three other players have surged from No. 4 to No. 1 between one Pepperstone ATP Rankings release: Moya (15 March 1999), Andre Agassi (5 July 1999) and Sampras (11 September 2000).

Alcaraz made more history at the end of the 2022 season when he became the 18th and youngest year-end No. 1. He rose from No. 32 at the start of the season, marking the biggest jump to No. 1 in 50 editions of the year-end Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“It means a lot to me,” Alcaraz said in Turin. “To get this trophy, the World No. 1, to be part of tennis history along with a lot of legends, for me [it] is an amazing feeling.”

Before Alcaraz, the youngest year-end No. 1 was Lleyton Hewitt. With three players in contention for No. 1 coming into the Nitto ATP Finals in November 2001, including Gustavo Kuerten and Andre Agassi, Hewitt came out on top, beating his great mate Rafter (round-robin stage), in the quest for the coveted top spot. Aged 20 years, 275 days, the Australian rose to the top for the first time after defeating Sebastien Grosjean to clinch the first of his two Nitto ATP Finals crowns (also 2002).

Player Age
1) Carlos Alcaraz 19 years, 131 days
2) Lleyton Hewitt 20 years, 268 days
3) Marat Safin 20 years, 298 days
4) John McEnroe 21 years, 16 days
5) Andy Roddick 21 years, 65 days

View all 28 No. 1s in the 50-year history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 1)
Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 2)
Biggest Rises & Revivals In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

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Rain Delays Start Of Play, Felix-Matteo Blockbuster In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Rain Delays Start Of Play, Felix-Matteo Blockbuster In Cincinnati

2022 champion Coric, Zverev, Wawrinka also on Monday schedule in Ohio

Rain has delayed the start of Monday’s play at the Western & Southern Open, where Felix Auger-Aliassime’s big-hitting clash with Matteo Berrettini headlines the Day 2 schedule in Cincinnati.

The 12th-seeded Auger-Aliassime and seven-time ATP Tour champion Berrettini were due to step on Grandstand at 11 a.m. local time at the hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event, but play will now not start before midday due to the weather.

When the rain clears in Ohio, it will be a sixth tour-level meeting between Auger-Aliassime and Berrettini. The latter leads 4-1 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, but Auger-Aliassime triumphed in the pair’s only previous Cincinnati meeting in 2021.

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Cincinnati Draw: Felix vs. Berrettini Among Many First-Round Blockbusters

Home favourite John Isner and Jordan Thompson are second on the Grandstand schedule, with the winner set to face top seed Carlos Alcaraz in the second round. ATP Tour stars in action later on centre court include defending champion Borna Coric, who plays Sebastian Korda. In the night session, 16th seed Alexander Zverev takes on Grigor Dimitrov.

On Stadium 3, wild cards Brandon Nakashima and Stan Wawrinka will do battle for the right to take on 10th seed Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Rune Cracks Top 5, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Rune Cracks Top 5, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 14 August 2023

Jannik Sinner captured the biggest title of his career last week at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, where he lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown. looks at the movers of the week as of Monday, 14th August 2023.

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No. 5 Holger Rune, +1 (Career High)
The 20-year-old’s climb up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings hit new heights on Monday when he cracked the Top 5 for the first time. The Dane broke into the Top 100 for the first time in January 2022, before he made his Top 10 debut last November after winning the Rolex Paris Masters. Rune has captured four tour-level titles and will aim to add to his collection at this week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

No. 6 Jannik Sinner, +2 (Career High)
The 21-year-old has also jumped to a career-high No. 6 after becoming just the second Italian to win a Masters 1000 title (also Fabio Fognini, Monte-Carlo 2019). Sinner defeated Alex de Minaur in the Toronto final to improve to 18-4 at Masters 1000 events this season. He is also the youngest Canadian Masters 1000 champion since then-20-year-old Alexander Zverev in 2017.

No. 12 Alex de Minaur, +6 (Career High)
The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough Masters 1000 run in Toronto, where he reached his first final at that level. The Australian defeated seeds Cameron Norrie, Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev before falling against Sinner. De Minaur is up six spots to No. 12 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

No. 23 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, +14 (Career High)
The Spaniard has climbed into the Top 25 after advancing to his second Masters 1000 semi-final in Toronto. Davidovich Fokina, who lost in the Monte-Carlo final in 2022, earned a Top 10 victory against Casper Ruud in Canada.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 36 Andy Murray, +4
No. 43 Mackenzie McDonald, +16 (Career High)
No. 48 Aleksandar Vukic, +14 (Career High)
No. 54 Marcos Giron, +16
No. 61 Matteo Arnaldi, +5 (Career High)
No. 70 Max Purcell, +8
No. 78 Thanasi Kokkinakis, +8
No. 82 Fabian Marozsan, +7 (Career High)
No. 91 Cristian Garin, +10
No. 92 Federico Coria, +11
No. 95 Taro Daniel, +20

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Sinner Surges To Fourth In Live Race

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Sinner Surges To Fourth In Live Race

De Minaur rises to 10th

Italian Jannik Sinner further boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time after winning his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a standout week in Toronto, defeating Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, Tommy Paul and Alex de Minaur, climbing two spots to fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin

 Player  Points
 1) Carlos Alcaraz  6,855
 2) Novak Djokovic  5,945
 3) Daniil Medvedev  5,310
 4) Jannik Sinner  4,185
 5) Stefanos Tsitsipas  3,445
 6) Andrey Rublev  3,280
 7) Holger Rune   3,045
 8) Casper Ruud  2,605
 9) Taylor Fritz  2,480
 10) Alex de Minaur  2,335

Sinner (4,185 points) leapfrogged fifth-placed Stefanos Tsitsipas (3,445 points) and sixth-placed Andrey Rublev (3,280 points) after becoming the second first-time Masters 1000 champion of the season. Rublev triumphed in Monte-Carlo in April.

Two years ago, Sinner replaced Matteo Berrettini as an alternate mid-tournament at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. This season, Sinner, who is 18-4 at Masters 1000 events in 2023, is trying to qualify directly into the field for the first time.

Australian Alex de Minaur also climbed into Nitto ATP Finals contention after reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Toronto. The 24-year-old, who is bidding to make his debut in Turin, jumped five spots to 10th in the Live Race. Earlier this season, De Minaur lifted the biggest trophy of his career at the ATP 500 in Acapulco.

Carlos Alcaraz became the first player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held in Turin from 12-19 November, when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

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Rune Explains Why Wozniacki 'Was A Big Inspiration'

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2023

Rune Explains Why Wozniacki ‘Was A Big Inspiration’

Learn more about the Danish stars’ respect for each other

The day before Holger Rune flew to Toronto to begin his North American hard-court swing, he practised with a special training partner: Caroline Wozniacki, who last week in Montreal returned to action for the first time since the 2020 Australian Open.

Wozniacki inspired Rune and many other children in Denmark by reaching World No. 1 and winning a major title at the 2018 Australian Open.

“My first memory of her is watching her from TV and she was playing all the tournaments and we were on the couch, all the family, watching her,” Rune told “The memory that stands out was when she won the Australian Open. We were all watching. It was crazy to watch a Danish player win a Grand Slam in an incredible match, so it was a big inspiration.”

At the time, Rune was a 14-year-old with big dreams. Following in Wozniacki’s footsteps, he has proven himself one of the best players in the world. On Monday, he cracked the top five in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time at World No. 5.

On Sunday afternoon at the Western & Southern Open, the Danish stars spent time together for a special interview. During the session, Wozniacki praised her countryman’s efforts.

“It’s just been awesome to see the quick progression that Holger’s been making and now obviously being top five in the world is so special,” Wozniacki said. “It’s such a small country, so when anyone does something big in sports or in anything else, you always root for them and it’s just been so fun to watch Holger just consistently play so well.”

<a href=Holger Rune and Caroline Wozniacki spend time together in Cincinnati before the start of the Western & Southern Open.” />
Photo: ATP Tour
For his part, Rune has been impressed by Wozniacki’s successful return to action. The former World No. 1 is competing in the second tournament of her comeback in Cincinnati, where she first played 18 years ago. Rune was two years old at the time.

“It’s difficult after three years without tennis to come back and win matches. It’s a big, big thing to do,” Rune said. “For sure I think she’s playing really well, to be honest.”

Wozniacki later said: “He also kicked my butt a couple of weeks ago.”

“I don’t know about that!” Rune quickly replied.

“I’ve been on the other side of the ball and it’s coming at you really fast,” Wozniacki added.

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“She has an incredible backhand, but obviously men’s and women’s tennis is very different,” Rune said of Wozniacki’s game. “Her backhand and her fighting spirit I feel are her two best qualities. It took her to World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion.”

Rune was outside the world’s Top 850 when Wozniacki played the 2020 Australian Open. Now the 20-year-old is making a mark of his own.

“Nobody ever won a Grand Slam in singles in Denmark. So to see her do it was like, ‘Okay, maybe I can also do it one day’,” Rune said. “It just makes the belief more real if you see somebody do it.”

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