Mouratoglou: “Lars is the one who knows Holger Rune best; I’m here as the extra eye”

Patrick Mouratoglou, now a full-time coach for Holger Rune for the rest of 2022, is excited by the potential of the Dane, whose goal is to become world No 1. The Frenchman is now in “observation mode”, before he can influence the plan to go to the next level

Patrick Mouratoglou, Holger Rune and Lars Christensen at the Mouratoglou Academy, october 2022 Patrick Mouratoglou, Holger Rune and Lars Christensen at the Mouratoglou Academy, october 2022 – © Mouratoglou Academy

Holger Rune and Patrick Mouratoglou will fly together as soon as Friday for Stockholm, where their partnership will begin. Mouratoglou is an addition to the Dane’s team, as the pair stated on Wednesday after Tennis Majors released the information.

Stockholm will be the first of four tournament weeks together, with Basel, Paris and the Next Gen Masters in Milan to follow.

Now ranked 27, Rune is very close to breaking into the ATP’s top 25, the goal he set for himself at the beginning of the season. Now he’s ready to set a new objective for the future.

Mouratoglou: “Success, during this period of time, is getting information”

Tennis Majors understands that objective may be a place in the top 10 mid-season in 2023. But don’t expect Mouratoglou and his protege to shout that they will make a hit in this short period of time.

“I am not going to tell you that a semi-final in Paris would be good, because I never put any limit and he may win it,” Mouratoglou told Tennis Majors (a digital brand he co-founded) on Thursday, in an interview that will be released in full on Friday.

Holger is at a moment of his career where he and his team are looking for an extra to go to the next level

Patrick Mouratoglou

“Success, for me, is getting information. During this period of time, I want a super clean idea on what we have to do to bring Holger to the next step.” It will inspire the second chapter of their partnership: Mouratoglou will also work with Rune’s team for the 2023 pre-season.

“Holger is at a moment of his career where he and his team are looking for an extra to go to the next level,” Mouratoglou said. “The more you grow, the more the work to be done has to be precise. His goals are very high. He always said he wanted to be number one and it’s not just a word. He really can reach them. 

“Do the team have a precise idea about the extra they need ? No,” Mouratoglou added. “They have ideas, that’s why they thought it could be good to work with me. They need an extra eye. Imagine the length of the relationship Holger has with his coach, Lars Christensen, who’s there since he has been playing tennis as a child. When you are with someone for so long, you can’t see things the same way.

“They’re also looking for experience at a very high level, to find the details that make big differences between being number 25 or number 1. Coaching a player at the same time as another coach, it’s different from what I’ve always done but it’s great to live something new.

“Lars and Holger have an incredible relationship. He listens to him and trusts him, that’s super positive and we’ll keep that. So far communication with Lars is great, he’s super open, very organised in the way he thinks. His only goal is to make Holger to be the best he can. It’s a real pleasure.

Working with Rune is a very specific job in itself, the player being a teen on the rise, highlights Mouratoglou, who coached Marcos Baghdatis and Grigor Dimitrov at the beginning of his career. “Where is the margin for improvement? The question asked is simple. You can’t lead all the fights at the same time, so you have to choose them and treat them one after another. That’s how we are going to operate.

If I want to change something, I won’t change it, we will have a talk with everyone as a team.

Patrick Mouratoglou

“I didn’t change anything in Holger’s routine, I didn’t change anything at all, in reality. I already saw little details but the one who knows Holger is Lars, not me. I can talk to Holger and share thoughts, but before making changes, you have to know the player very well.

“I need to see him in many situations, how he reacts, how he adapts, etc. If I want to change something, I won’t change it, we will have a talk with everyone as a team.” 

Physical, mental, technique, tactics: the source for progress is everywhere, says Mouratoglou. “If you’re ranked 26th at 19 and still you can improve at so many levels, it’s great news, it shows the potential of the player. For any player at his age, you have a room for improvement everywhere, 100 percent.

“Holger has done incredibly good things in 2022, he can play at a very high level, but sometimes he lost against players he should not lose against.” 

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz a familiar foe

The current number one at the ATP Tour is a 19-year-old Rune knows very well, Carlos Alcaraz. Mouratoglou doesn’t deny that seeing a familiar face where you want to be is a source for motivation.

“I see it as a challenge for Holger. He can think: ‘This guy will be my challenger in the future, and he is already there’. It’s hyper positive in the sense that it is a great motivation.”

At this stage, Mouratoglou confirms he is involved in a daily job with Rune as long as Simona Halep is away from tennis. “She can’t play at the moment,” he said. “She had this nose surgery and it takes time before she can do fitness. She’s just restarting, and very slowly. It’s going to take time for her to come back at a good level because she didn’t do anything for a while, it’s as simple as that. The idea is to come back with her when she feels ready.”

“In the meantime I have this moment with Holger and let’s see what comes out of it. I’m excited by what I’m doing, giving 100 percent with every player, taking it day after day and let’s see what happens in the future.” 

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