First-Time Winner Spotlight: Holger Rune
Holger Rune’s rapid rise hit new levels this week, as the #NextGenATP Dane clinched a maiden ATP Tour crown at the BMW Open by American Express in Munich.
The World No. 70 only broke the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings in January, but he looked more than comfortable on the big stage as he took the title in Germany without dropping a set all week after Botic van de Zandschulp retired in the first set of Sunday’s championship match.
The Dane's impressive march to the final included taking out top seed Alexander Zverev for a maiden Top 10 win and a blistering 6-0, 6-2 quarter-final victory over Emil Ruusuvuori on Friday, Rune's 19th birthday. ATPTour.com sat down with Rune after his breakthrough run in Munich to find out more about his life on Tour, on and off the court.
What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
It means a lot. It was my ultimate goal for this year to be able to win my first ATP 250 title. It happened today and I’m super happy about that and excited about the future. This can only bring good things out of me and I’m going to stay working hard and just try to achieve more things.
How did you start playing tennis? What are some of your early memories playing the sport?
I started playing when I was six years old, and it was with my sister. That’s the first memory I have, playing with my sister in the club. We played with the soft balls, mini-tennis, and we had a lot of good fights together, tie-breaks and stuff. She was obviously better than me because she’s four years older, but she kept pushing me and I got better and better.
What do you consider to be your biggest passions outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about those interests?
I like sports in general, like football and basketball. Honestly, I’m pretty lazy, so I like to watch a good movie and watch some Netflix.
This is a milestone moment in your career. How will you celebrate this victory? You’re not playing next week, that's well planned!
It’s really nice. It’s always so nice when you win a tournament to not play the next week. I’m going to see my family and I’m so excited for it. These are the ones who are always with me and I appreciate that so much.
We didn’t plan anything yet, but for sure we will celebrate all together, with my coach, my mum, everybody, so it’s huge.
You are such an energetic presence on the court. How would you describe yourself off the court?
I’m very relaxed actually, very down-to-earth. I try to be like this all the time because mainly I’m just happy and I’m doing what I love. I love playing tennis, I love travelling, and this is what I’m doing. I’m actually living my dream right now and I’m really enjoying that.
We have heard your secret talent is juggling. How did you discover that and how good are you?
Actually my coach was in the circus. He can do all these things, and he taught me how to do it. I can do it with three or four balls. I’m good at it, but not unbelievable!
What has the reaction been to your success in Denmark? Do you have a message for your fans back home?
I want to say a huge thanks to these [fans], because it means so much when you’re on the court that you know, even at the side [of the court] and at home, there are so many who only want you to play the best that you can. It’s really a good feeling stepping on the court.
You are still quite new to the Tour. Away from the tennis, what are you enjoying most about travelling around the world?
I would say probably seeing new tennis courts every time! It’s a fun one, but I like to play in different conditions every week and this what we have to do. We have to adapt, and I really like that challenge.