Roland Garros

Monday, 30 May 2022

Paris, France

Holger Rune

Press Conference

H. RUNE/S. Tsitsipas

7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Well done, Holger. Was beating Stefanos, a top-4 player, on Philippe Chatrier the best moment on the court in your short career so far?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, I would say for sure it's a big win for sure for me. I beat the world No. 3 in Munich and now the world No. 4 on an even bigger occasion.

It was a great feeling for me and it was a big match. Very tough first two sets, and then I kind of relaxed a bit more and played really great today, very aggressive, taking my chances. Of course at the end was a bit tight, but I think I managed very well.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I was wondering if I could ask you about the end of the match when you were trying to serve it out, first service game, you seemed to not have your head in it, and then instead of -- well, you quit on that last point, you seemed frustrated. I was wondering, A, what you told yourself to try and collect your thoughts, and B, did you and your coach have any discussion about that after, any lessons learned from it?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, when I was up 5-2, I thought that I had a big lead, which I also had, so I kind of relaxed maybe too much. He was playing, you know, very aggressive and very freely. Because he was, you know, obviously behind two sets to one and with two breaks, so he had at that moment kind of nothing to lose. He just played some great shots. Maybe I was too relaxed. I think so.

Then he played a great service game, and then I went out at 5-4 really nervous, I would say, and a bit stressed but I think I managed very good. Obviously started with a double fault. Was not how I wanted to. But, you know, then I came back and really tried to play more aggressive, because he was playing super close to the line, taking every ball as it bounced almost, and was really taking time away.

I think at the end I showed some good shots and some very good tennis at the tight moments.

Q. There is a very famous company in Denmark, and their slogan is "Probably the best beer in the world." At the start of Roland Garros, what do you think the probability would have been for you to be in the quarterfinals? The way you're playing right now, do you think that you're probably one of the best players in the world right now?

HOLGER RUNE: I mean, honestly when you come into a tournament you don't think far, because it's so long matches and best-of-five sets, it's tough. You know, my main focus from the beginning was just to focus each match at a time, each set at a time, because if you drop your level you can lose to everybody because everybody can play.

I have strong belief in myself that if I really focus and play my tennis, I can beat almost everybody. You know, I was mainly just taking each match at a time.

About if I'm in the best in the world or not, it's a tough question. If I play my tennis, I believe I'm capable of beating almost everybody on the tour. But also, I really have to be in the moment, because if not, everybody can also beat me. So it's really about just staying focused and focus mostly on the tennis, yeah.

Q. Just a question on the expectations for this tournament and obviously going into the quarterfinal against your next opponent. You know who it is. Does the fact that you have progressed so far and that you are essentially in unknown territory as far as Grand Slams is concerned, does that concern you at all going into that match with Casper?

HOLGER RUNE: No, not at all. Obviously I know Casper Ruud very well, and he's been doing mainly all his best showings in Masters 1000 and the 250s, which he's won a lot of.

I don't see him -- of course more experienced than me but not a lot more experienced in a slam. I don't know if it's his first quarters, I'm not sure. So it's all both our first quarterfinal. Of course we both feel the nerves of course.

But I'm just, as every match, I'm just gonna be focusing on each point at a time. It's going to be a long match no matter if I close it in three or in four or in five.

It's, you know, just gotta take every point at a time, yeah.

Q. Given your big wins lately and grabbing your first title, how much more confident are you that you can beat Casper this time compared to, let's say, Bastad and Monte-Carlo? How much of a difference is it playing here at a Grand Slam and those tournaments?

HOLGER RUNE: I think it makes a big difference. I think the match we can use the most is definitely Monte-Carlo this year in the start of the clay season. It was a great match, I think. It was very close. I had a lot of chances, and didn't really take them. But of course Casper is very confident also on the clay, and I am, too.

So it's for sure going to be a great battle. I believe my chances good, and so do he, I think. It's for sure gonna be a great battle like today.

Q. Casper said today he's a favorite in the quarterfinals. How do you see that? Is he a big favorite or how can you beat him? What's your plan? No. 2, you looked a little bit nervous today on the end of the match.


Q. Is that true?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, I mean, I think everybody would feel the pressure in this kind of situation. I don't think that I'm the only one feeling the pressure, serving at 5-4 for the match for your first quarterfinal.

But about Casper, of course in the ranking he's the favorite obviously. You know, also that he beat me the last times. So that makes him the favorite.

But it's a new match. It's a new environment, a new court, new everything. You know, let's see what happens. We can only say who's gonna win on Wednesday, yeah.

Q. What's your thought on Scandinavian tennis, as it is a Scandinavian quarterfinal here?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, I think we are doing better. It's definitely going in the right direction for us. We have Casper and me and Ymer also. Of course we never really had a Danish player, and I'm not sure, I don't think also in Norway we had any players there. So it's great that tennis is getting bigger here. You know, for me, it's just, you know, enjoying the moment here.

Q. There is another 19-year-old that's been getting a lot of spotlight during this tournament, and before. I just wondered how aware you are of that and whether the attention that's been on Carlos Alcaraz has been a motivation for you to show he's not the only talented teenager on the scene.

HOLGER RUNE: I think he deserve all the attention that he's getting. I mean, he's been doing some incredible things, beating Novak, Rafa, all these guys. He deserves it, and he's also improving a lot every time. So, you know, for me it's not a problem. He deserves it.

About me, I mean, I'm going at my own pace, at my own kind of way, and, you know, improving at my own time. It's great.

I mean, everybody has their own journey, and this is mine.

Q. I want to ask you two things, one a little simpler, the other maybe less so. The first is just growing up, who was your favorite tennis player or somebody you wanted to be like and why? And the other question is where your confidence comes from. When did you think to yourself, Okay, I'm ready to play with the best players in the world and do well at Grand Slam tournaments?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, the first one is Roger Federer. He's always been my idol growing up. Why I love him so much is basically his game, his transition to the net is very rare. These stages you mostly see the players hitting on the baseline, hitting as hard as they can. To watch him play so much more than just strokes, forehand and backhand, it's so inspiring. Also very helpful for my game because for me, I'm trying also to play not exactly like Roger but also use more shots than just forehand and backhand.

What was your other question? I forgot.

Oh, about my confidence. It's of course helping winning matches. It gives you more confidence. Especially beating these kind of players is great. And, you know, the match in Munich against Zverev really helped me a lot to believe in myself even more today because I knew I beat a player in this kind of ranking and this level so it makes me feel better today.

So it grows all the time, yeah.

Q. What's the best thing that this experience has brought you? What have you enjoyed the most? What's surprised you the most with what you have been doing here at the French Open?

HOLGER RUNE: Yeah, I mean, it was tough mental battle against Hugo Gaston the round before. The crowd was really cheering for him and everything.

Today I think the tough thing was really Tsitsipas in himself. You know, we all know how great he can play, and when you give him the chance, it's tough.

So I really focus on taking my chances all the time. The crowd was amazing, really pumping both players up and really gave me a lot of help also at the end, cheering me up and stuff. It's really living the dream, you can say. This is always what I dreamed for.

Q. What about the possibility of No. 1 in the world? Do you spot it? That's my first question. You are very close to your mom. What does your mom bring to you in your competition and on the court, everything.

HOLGER RUNE: I mean, my ultimate goal is to be No. 1 in the world. I'm not going to hide it, because it is and it's always been. I know there is a long way. There has been even a longer way, but now I'm getting closer and closer.

I believe in myself, and also being capable of beating these kind of players, not only one time but also in a Grand Slam where we all know that they want to perform at their best.

Yeah, I mean, about my mom, you know, we are very close to each other. She's been with me for all my life and all my tournaments almost. You know, she really knows me, and you can call her kind of a mental coach for me, because she knows me that well. She knows, you know, when I'm in this kind of mood I play the best. You know, it's really great to have her by my side, because she help with so much more than just tennis, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
121058-1-1063 2022-05-30 17:36:00 GMT

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