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“I’m ready to move on” – Rune puts a promising clay-court stretch behind him after defeat to Casper Ruud

Holger Rune looking ahead to the grass season following his exit from Roland-Garros, after an impressive clay-court stretch

Holger Rune, Roland-Garros 2023 Holger Rune, Roland-Garros 2023 Р© Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Holger Rune has had a very impressive clay-court season.

It started with a run to the final of Monte-Carlo, defeating the likes of Dominic Thiem, Medvedev and Sinner along the way before losing a tight contest to Andrey Rublev.

Backing that up by taking the ATP 250 title in Munich, the young Dane suffered a blip in Madrid as he exited in the second round, before bouncing straight back to reach a third final in four tournaments, knocking Novak Djokovic out en route to the Italian Open showpiece.

The only frustration for Rune over the past two months may be that he did not come away with more to show for such a successful set of results, losing again in that final in Rome to Daniil Medvedev.

Repeat of 2022 Roland-Garros run for Rune

Roland-Garros has been a solid showing for the current world No 6, if nothing spectacular, as he matched his 2022 result with another run to the last eight, before being outplayed by Casper Ruud in the quarter-final.

Rather than dwelling on what has been and gone, though, Rune is ready to move on to the next stage of his season.

“We have another Grand Slam around the corner, so I hope to be stronger there.

“I’m happy that the clay season is over now. I’m ready to move on. Yeah, just focused on the grass now.”

Room for improvement for Rune

The 20-year-old was the first to admit that he was far from his best during the opening two sets of the quarter-final against Ruud, as he struggled to keep his unforced error count down in the face of stern opposition.

“I think I started very, very bad, unfortunately. I didn’t find my level at all the first two sets. Then I started to play a little bit better. Found some rhythm in my game. Managed to put him under pressure,” the Dane said.

“But, again, it’s too costly to start so late. Against a great player like him, he deserved to win because, first of all, I wasn’t there the first two sets, but you cannot allow yourself to do that when you play a player like Casper, and any player at the top of the game, because it’s too long of a way back.

“Credit to him for staying there.”

Ruud and Rune find mutual respect at Roland-Garros

After a somewhat tumultuous start to their professional relationship, following a spiky encounter at the same stage of Roland-Garros last year, it appears that is now in the past as the two have found mutual a respect for one another.

This was evident in the way Rune spoke about his fellow Scandinavian in the aftermath of a disappointing defeat.

“I think Casper is a really, really solid player. You know, he is — how do you say? His lower level is really high. He never drops. I think maybe he does, but you don’t really feel it.

“I have to play some of my best tennis every time I play him to beat him or have a chance to beat him. I managed to do that in Rome.”

For Rune, an excellent clay-court stretch in which he has taken further strides towards what will evidently be a superb career will also be remembered for some missed opportunities. These will no doubt serve as useful lessons in the future, as Rune exits clay’s premier tournament with a lot to be satisfied with.

Ruud, meanwhile, marches onto another Roland-Garros semi-final, where he meets a resurgent Zverev in the last four.

Ruud will be hoping to repeat his exploits last year and reach the final on Sunday.

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