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Exclusive: Holger Rune, the Danish teen making waves at Roland-Garros, has a dream: “I would like to play Roger Federer”

The Dane says he’s signed up to play in Basle in hope that he might play against the 20-time Grand Slam champion

Holger Rune and Roger Federer Holger Rune and Roger Federer (© Panoramic)

Danish teen Holger Rune is one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour and fast becoming a star in his own right.

The 19-year-old Dane, already ranked No 40, with an ATP title to his name this year and heading higher in the rankings, raced into the third round of the French Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, overcoming a scare when he hurt his ankle late in the third set.

But it’s another star, and another Swiss whom he would most like to face at some stage. Having grown up looking up to Roger Federer, he’s hoping the 20-times Grand Slam champion fulfils his commitment to playing in Basle in October, so far the first official tournament on the schedule for Federer as he returns from more than a year out following knee surgery.

“I know he’s coming back in Basel and I’m only going to sign for Basel,” Rune said, when asked if he would like to play Federer.

I think the way he plays, you never saw it, it’s unbelievable

Holger Rune

Rune said when he first started to become interested in tennis it was Federer who caught his eye.

“I just think that how he plays, you never saw it, it’s unbelievable,” said the Dane, who has practised with Federer a couple of times. “It was unbelievable. He’s such a nice guy. Very chilled, down to earth. So it was really nice. “

Rune said he admired Federer’s ability to turn defence into attack.

“His volleys, his game through the court is just so satisfying to see,” he said. “I would probably say the transition to the net is so nice and you don’t see that a lot these days because almost every player is just hitting full power from the baseline and not doing much (different).

“But you know, to see him play very in a way, unique game style, not like many others, but still so elegant and you know how he can take it so early, it’s just in a way brutal to see also. “

Rune: Djokovic is also an inspiration

Rune said he had practised with both Federer and Novak Djokovic and learned a lot from both.

“I think Novak also secures inspiration with the mental stuff, how he can stay so calm and brutal in these kind of moments. It’s just so inspiring to see these guys,” he said.

“It’s a lot more intense with Novak, let’s be clear to say that. Novak’s practise is always very tough. He’s very intense, and he’s hitting the ball strongly. So it’s very good challenge to practise with him. He pushes you a lot. He makes you run, how precise he hits the ball.

“And Roger, I just had some warm up with him so not like normal practice. He shows it and he goes out there and he plays unbelievable.”

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