Rune Seeking 'Best Version Of Myself' In Paris Title Defense

  • Posted: Oct 30, 2023

Rune Seeking ‘Best Version Of Myself’ In Paris Title Defense

Defending champion will open against Wawrinka or Thiem

A topsy-turvy year has Holger Rune hungry for a strong finish to the season.

In the first half of 2023, Rune saved four championship points to triumph in Munich, sandwiched in between final appearances at the ATP Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo and Rome. But following his Wimbledon quarter-final run, the World No. 7 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings has won just four of his past 12 matches.

Perhaps there is no better place to find his best form than at this week’s Rolex Paris Masters, where he is aiming to defend the title.

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“It’s a good fight. It’s the last push of the season,” Rune told the ATP Podcast in Paris. “I’m really ready to give it my all and then prepare for the next one.”

One change Rune has made is hiring a new coach, six-time major champion Boris Becker. In their first tournament together last week in Basel, Rune made the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Felix Auger-Aliassime.

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“It’s been great working so far with Boris, what we’re working on is what you see on the court,” Rune said. “There were a few adjustments that we made to be able to come back on track a little bit more. And I think that I was willing to do those small changes. I played some better tennis [in Basel] and I was fighting very well. Obviously didn’t find my best level still, but I’m definitely building up more.”

Boasting a 41-21 season record, the 20-year-old Dane believes this coaching change will bring positive results.

“[I think] the more peace and quietness there is around a tennis player or an athlete, the better they can perform and if it’s less, the more tough it is to keep the focus,” Rune said. “It was definitely tough for me to be the best version of myself and that’s not good for any athlete.”

The sixth seed Rune is guaranteed to play a former major champion in his Paris opener as he awaits the winner of Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem. Sitting at eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Rune needs a strong week in France to hold off a list of players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud, who all are battling for the critical eighth position in the Nitto ATP Finals. 

Should Rune qualify for Turin, the four-time tour-level titlist would make his Nitto ATP Finals debut. Last year, Rune was the first alternate at the prestigious year-end event.

“Last year, it would have been great to make it, but I didn’t expect to make it at all. Before the last three tournaments, I was not even near so it was a big push that I made,” Rune said. “Then all of a sudden, it was possible to make it. But during this tournament, I also didn’t think about it because I played Top 10 guys every match.

“It just kind of happened and I’m trying to do the same now, don’t try or anything to seek that, but just do everything I can on the court and at the end hope to make it.”

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