“Rune has better backhand, Alcaraz has better forehand” – Novak Djokovic weighs in on the two teenagers in the ATP’s top-10

After the Paris final, Novak Djokovic gave a short, sweet breakdown of the strength of Holger Rune and Carlos Alcaraz.

Rune and Djokovic Paris Masters 2022 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

After a difficult loss to Holger Rune in Sunday’s Paris Masters final, Novak Djokovic had nothing but praise for 19-year-old Holger Rune. The 21-time major champion shook off the disappointment quickly as he looked ahead to the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, where he will bid for his sixth title next week. As he took questions from the press he was willing to analyze the games of Rune and Carlos Alcaraz, two rapidly rising teens that also happen to be a combined 2-0 against Djokovic in 2022.

Novak’s take? They have different strengths and very complete games for their age.

“They are similar in terms of physicality,” Djokovic told reporters. “I think they are both really fit. They train very hard. They are very dedicated guys. They defend, both of them, extremely well.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune 2022
JB Autissier / Panoramic

Rune’s backhand is better

To anyone who watched Rune rifle backhand winners at an alarming rate on Sunday, it’s obvious that the stroke is a pillar of his attacking game. Djokovic, too, gave it high marks.

“Rune has better backhand,” he said, adding: “Alcaraz has better forehand.”

Djokovic does not want to imply that either has a weak wing, and he went on to compliment the complete games of each player.

“They are both improving on those shots that maybe are not as good as maybe other shot. But when I say ‘is not as good,’ [I mean] it’s not huge difference – they have great shots. Great forehand from Rune or great backhand from Alcaraz.

“They are very complete players for 19-year-olds. It’s quite impressive. Also their energy on the court, just wanting, motivating themselves and wanting to do well and staying mentally present, it’s impressive.”

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