When Holger Rune began his 2022 season, he was No. 103 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and needed to enter qualifying at his first tournament of the year. The Danish teen will not need to worry about doing that again any time soon.
By defeating Novak Djokovic in the Rolex Paris Masters final on Sunday, Rune guaranteed he would crack the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday at World No. 10. Rune is the first man from Denmark to accomplish the feat.
Only two active players broke into the Top 10 at a younger age than the 19-year-old — Rafael Nadal (18) and Carlos Alcaraz (18). Rune did so earlier than a laundry list of current and former superstars, including Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“I didn’t expect that at all four or five weeks ago but now I’m here,” said Rune, who will be the first alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.. “I’m super happy how I officially ended my season, and if there possibly is more matches, I’m just super excited for it. Right now I just can’t wait to get some sleep, get some food, just relax totally.”
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
This time last year, Rune and Carlos Alcaraz were competing in the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Now Rune is in the Top 10 and Alcaraz is well-positioned to finish year-end World No. 1. This is the first time two teenagers have been ranked inside the Top 10 in more than 15 years. Djokovic and Murray were teens in the elite group on 14 May 2007.
Rune has been in especially imperious form of late, winning 19 of his past 21 matches. He reached the final in Sofia, lifted the trophy in Stockholm, made another championship match in Basel and earned the best result of his career in Paris, where he became the youngest champion since 18-year-old Boris Becker in 1986.
Rune has been clear since breaking onto the ATP Tour that he wants to be the No. 1 player in the world. While in Paris the Dane became the first player on record (since 1973) to defeat five Top 10 opponents at a tournament outside of the Nitto ATP Finals, this will only make him hungry for more.
According to one of Rune’s coaches, Patrick Mouratoglou, the 19-year-old still has places he can improve his game.
“We have to be very transparent on this. He can progress. He can improve much more. There are elements where he can actually improve very much,” Mouratoglou said. “We are reaching the end of the season. We will work on that. It’s not really that there is a danger, but there is a lot of work to provide. He’s Top 10. It’s not his ambition. It’s wonderful, but it’s not his ambition.
“I don’t know [if] we have seen actually his top tennis. It’s higher than before, but we have to upgrade his average tennis play and to make sure that his normal average play is as excellent as we have seen so far.”
Rune will shortly return to work to do just that. But for now, he will soak in the fruits of his memorable performance in Paris.
“It was very emotional after the match. It’s probably the best feeling of my life, of my whole career,” Rune said. “It’s kind of a small dream come true, even though I have bigger dreams.”