Holger Rune, the second crack of the Alcaraz generation

At Roland Garros

The video dates from 2017. Posted on Twitter on Monday, we can easily distinguish the young faces of Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune talking together in the middle of a doubles match during Petits As de Tarbes. At the time, the two children, then 14 years old, were not yet the unrestrained monsters that characterized the spirits of this Roland-Garros.

If the Spaniard ended up breaking his teeth on Tuesday in the neighborhood against Zverev (4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7), the Dane can still dream of the last four provided he gets rid of the Norwegian on Wednesday Casper Ruud , 8th player in the world. The amazing but ultimately logical result of a rise to the highest level.

“At that time, Rune had better results because Alcaraz was too playful”

Five years after the double of Petits As remembers Croatian Lovre Erceg, one of the two opponents of this match who won 6-2, 6-4 of the two geniuses. “Until I was 15, we played a lot of tournaments together. But afterwards, they took a big leap forward in their careers. I started playing against Alcaraz in U10. We immediately saw that he was separated. He was already very fast and used drop shots a lot. But at that time, Rune had better results because Alcaraz was too playful, ”says the one who has not seen his career take off as fast as the Spaniard and the Dane.

But in 2022, the trend is reversed. Of the two 19-year-old players whose Rune was crowned junior world champion three years ago, it was Alcaraz who was previously in the major leagues. This year’s winner of two Masters 1000 (Miami, Madrid) and Rio and Barcelona tournaments, the Spaniard, 6th player in the world, even landed with the sign of a great outsider in Paris before being eliminated on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.

Fine for homophobic remarks

Unlike Alcaraz, Rune arrived more discreetly at Roland-Garros. Last year, his arrival on the field caused even more controversy. In June 2021, during a challenger tournament in Italy, the kid was investigated by the ATP for homophobic remarks. In the semifinal against the Argentine, Rune got angry in the middle of the match and shouted in Danish to his opponent: “You are a shit player, and you play like a gay man”.

Words that apparently attracted attention and made the Dane apologize stiffly in a press release and on Instagram. “I’m really sorry if I offended anyone by using inappropriate terms. I hope that people will accept my apologies, and of course it will not happen again “, wrote Rune, finally sanctioned with a fine of 1,500 euros.

It has been gaining momentum for several weeks

Since that incident, the lad, who is training south at the Mouratoglou Academy, has taken the lead a little more in his head and is starting to gain strength. Winner of his first ATP tournament in Munich at the end of April, the 40th player in the world has gained confidence. Before he took the Porte d’Auteuil light by hitting Stefanos Tsitsipas, finalist last year, in the quarter-finals. What provoked Cédric Pioline’s enthusiasm.

“There is a little less light on him than the Spaniard, but he makes a fantastic track. He also drives very fast, there is something that has been released not long ago, during his victory in Munich. He has a lot of confidence, desire. I really like his attitude, his game, this audacity he has on the court, ”explains the former French Grand Slam finalist.

“He has such an energy, such a desire to perform. We talk a lot about Alcaraz in this generation, but Rune is a fantastic player who strikes very hard,” adds Marc Barbier, coach of a Hugo Gaston who was torn up in the third round by the Dane (6-3, 6-3, 6). -3).

A breath of fresh air in tennis

Whether it was Rune or Alcaraz, the witnesses interviewed all fainted over their spectacular play. The strength of the youth according to Henri Leconte “They make the game develop because they are not afraid of anything. They earn well, go to the net and attack. They also realized that the drop shot was not a defensive shot, but an attack shot. They can “It’s a little too much sometimes, but it destabilizes everyone. There is ruthlessness, and ruthlessness sometimes gives great matches,” launches the former Davis Cup winner.

Same excitement on Cédric Pioline’s side “It’s great, there’s a breath of fresh air. It’s great for tennis this mix of old players installed with these young people arriving and shaking everything. It remains to be seen whether the robbery of the century is possible this year. Alcaraz will have to do it again next year to break the bank. But Holger Rune still has some serious arguments to make on Sunday to achieve his childhood dream.

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