“What is luck? This is tennis”: Resurgent Rune ready for Final Four in London

After a slow start, Holger Rune has now acclimatised to the UTS format with two wins on day two of the UTS Grand Final in London

Holger Rune UTS Grand Final 2023

Entering the UTS Grand Final as the youngest man to have ever played UTS, first stepping into the format as a 17-year-old, Holger “The Viking” Rune had high expectations on his shoulders in London this weekend.

The Dane did not live up to these on day one, failing miserably in his initial outing against world No 61 Jack “The Power” Draper in a 3-0 loss. 

However, it was a renewed Rune who turned up on day two of the UTS Grand Final, with the Dane winning both of his matches to qualify for the Final Four at the London-based event.

Rune acclimatising to UTS format

On day one of the UTS Grand Final, it’s safe to say The Viking didn’t hold back with regards to his feelings towards UTS.

“It’s weird,” Rune declared in his post-match press conference after losing to Draper, before going on to blame the conditions for his loss.

Today, however, it seems the Dane has got up to speed with the format, as Rune discussed his win over Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik in a more engaged manner.

“I’m proud of myself,” Rune exerted after his sudden death victory over the Kazakh, before going on to unpack the serve dynamic. “You are more free [on the opponent’s serve] because he starts the rally. Normally it’s always great to be the server, but here, I don’t know, it’s great to be the returner.”

Overall Rune was happy with his first UTS victory, explaining that the key for him was to block out any intrusive thoughts and just focus on playing his best tennis, regardless of the format.

“At the end, only one thing was in my mind: to fight,” Rune elaborated.

“I’ve experienced this moment, where you’re in the tiebreak of a third set and it’s 6-6 or 7-6 and you cannot think too much, you just need to fight. Either you make it or you lose it. There is not really any reason to think if I’m going to win, or I’m going to go for this or that, because it’s very simple.

“Either you win a couple of points and win the match, or you lose.”

Dangerous Rune looks ahead to Final Four

This new, care-free attitude that Rune is adopting makes him something of a danger to the rest of the field in the Final Four tomorrow. 

The Dane faces Rublo on Sunday in a semi-final, who is on a seven-match winning streak in UTS since losing his debut match in Frankfurt earlier this year. Rune is feeling relaxed, however, and will be continuing with this approach tomorrow.

“To be honest, the more I think about the rules, the more it stresses me out,” Rune detailed. “I just think to enjoy. I just tell myself to enjoy and not really think about anything.”

“If it goes well, it goes well. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.”

While yesterday The Viking was not too happy with the UTS format, it seems Rune is now coming around to the idea.

“It’s for sure new. You never had music between points, you never had one serve,” he explained.

“It doesn’t frustrate me, you just have to get used to it. It’s just different, and that’s the whole point of this event, to make it different. I just told myself not to give too much importance to the format, to try to fit in. I just told myself to enjoy, and see how it goes really.”

Should Rune win the UTS Grand Final tomorrow, he will become the first player of Scandinavian descent to do so, capping off a year where he won four ATP titles and reached a career-high ranking of No 4 in the world.

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