Holger Rune hits out at “dangerous” court covers after “scary” fall in second-round win

The Danish teen hurt his ankle when he caught his foot under the court covers, scarily reminiscent of an injury suffered by David Goffin at Roland-Garros in 2017

Holger Rune, clay, 2022 Holger Rune on clay, 2022 © Sandrine Thesillat / Panoramic

Anyone who saw David Goffin damage his ankle ligaments when he caught his foot under the court covers at Roland-Garros in 2017 will probably have had deja vu on Thursday as the French Open almost had another serious injury caused by the placement of the tarps.

Holger Rune, the rising Danish teen, who beat Denis Shapovalov in the first round, was cruising to victory over Henri Laaksonen on Thursday when he slipped in similar fashion, catching his right foot in the court covers, which are rolled up and put near the back of the court during matches.

The 19-year-old also clattered into an advertising hoarding and required treatment from the trainer and though he recovered to finish off the match, he called on French Open organisers to move the covers off the court to avoid other players risking serious injury.

“I would like to have it taken off the court if I could choose that,” he said. “And also these (advertising boards)…if you fall, I was almost going to fall and hit my elbow. It could be even more scary.

“I would definitely suggest them to take it off. It can be dangerous and everybody plays in a different way (stands) in a different way. I don’t know, 50 centimetres could make the difference.”

The French Tennis Federation said the incident was regretful but insisted the covers were further back than at other events.

“Since the renovation of the courts, the setback has been increased to 7.60m, which is more than at other tournaments (6.40m on average),” it said in an emailed statement. “This is an unfortunate fact that remains extremely rare given the number of matches played at Roland Garros (more than 900 matches).”

In 2017, Goffin was forced to miss Wimbledon because of his injury but Rune said he hoped his ankle would be OK for his next match, against Hugo Gaston of France.

“Obviously I got very scared when it happened, because I was leading in the match and playing a great match, I think, and I thought it would be worse,” he said. “It’s not too bad. Still I thought it would be better to retire for the doubles, as I did, to see how much I can improve it for my singles on Saturday.

“It’s already improving. I did a lot for it today, a lot of recovery. I’m very hopeful. I’m just also satisfied with how I played today.”

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