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Mouratoglou on what he first saw in Holger Rune: “He had a champion’s mindset from the start”
The Dane was not the best player in his age group when he first arrived at Mouratoglou’s academy, but mentally, he stood out
Judging young players in terms of their likely future is a perilous task. Some have big serves but not enough athleticism, some move like gods but have no power.
When Patrick Mouratoglou first saw Holger Rune, when the Dane came to his academy as a youngster, he was not the best player he’d ever seen. But he had one thing that made Mouratoglou sit up and take notice.
“He was not impressive in his level of play,” said Mouratoglou in Paris on Sunday, having joined the Rune camp last month, theoretically to see out the rest of the year.
“He played very well. He was already among the best among the under-14s, but he was not standing out. He didn’t have a specific shot. He didn’t play loose. He didn’t have what some observers were trying to look for.
“However, his mindset, his determination, he had them already, and this is what made him stand out.
“As for the rest, he developed them throughout the time. He’s managed to progress very much. His forehand, his backhand, his serve, he’s built it throughout time. The making of champions is not tennis. It’s built throughout time with a good mindset.
“He had a champion’s mindset from the start, and this is what struck me. He was very determined. He has so much self-confidence. When I say that, there is a difference. There is a difference between being strongly self-confident and we just need to talk to him the way he looks around him. We see that he really believes in a success. His personality struck me more than anything else.”
Improvement on the cards for Rune
Rune has stamped his personality on the ATP Tour in the past two months, winning the title in Stockholm, reaching the final in Basel and then winning his first Masters 1000 title in Paris, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.
Mouratoglou said he expects Rune to improve, quickly.
“We have to be very transparent on this,” he said. “He can progress. He can improve much more. There are elements where he can actually improve very much.
“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 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.”