Rune: “I don’t want to end at No 6, I want to be No 1”

Holger Rune only cares about what’s happening at the top. And he owns it.

Holger Rune during his fourth round match at the 2023 Roland-Garros Holger Rune during his fourth round match at the 2023 Roland-Garros Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Holger Rune isn’t here to be an outsider, he is here to try to rule them all. And the Dane, as usual, owns it. So when asked about satisfied he is with the huge leap forward he made in a year since the last US swing, he stays on his own trend.

“I’m happy to be No. 6, but I’m not satisfied. And I don’t want to end at No 6. I want to be No 1, it’s no secret”, Rune said. “Right now I’m also trying to work 10 times harder than I did at the beginning of the year. So hopefully, everything will come together”, he told the ATP in Toronto this week.

Still, it was after that third-round loss against Cameron Norrie (7-5, 6-4, 6-1) at the US Open that Rune, now only 20, decided things weren’t going fast enough for his liking. “I just really told myself, ‘Okay, I don’t want to be No. 30 in the world and just stay here. I feel like I can be better and do better things, and I don’t want to waste my potential. So I worked really hard.” Not that he wasn’t already, but the kid is a never-ending bouncing ball filled with all the energy of the youth and an ever-burning ambitious fire.

“When I want something, I’m willing to do whatever it takes”

“I improved a lot, both mentally, physically. I really took everything much more seriously I would say and I was really determined to push every single day, every tournament I played.” Rune wants what he wants and he wants it right now with an intensity that was always going to ruffle some feathers: “I thought I was working hard, but then my results weren’t there, and then I worked 10 times harder. I think it’s always been like that. When I want something, I’m willing to do whatever it takes.” That’s the Rune answer to anything thrown at him on Tour: Whatever.

Obviously he – and we all – know what will logically be his main obstacle to the tennis world domination he’s dreaming of: Carlos Alcaraz. But Rune has already proved he had the game to contest the Spaniard. And so he can still sleep well at night when he thinks about that rivalry.

“I do really enjoy it”, he swore. “I think why rivalries are so important for the sport is because it grows it bigger. It gets more interest in the sport and if you only have one great player, of course, it’s nice for that one good player. But it’s not as competitive as if you have many. I think what Roger, Rafa, and Novak did and also Borg, McEnroe, they [brought] tennis to another level and another dimension, and hopefully we can do that also.” 

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