EXCLUSIVE: Holger Rune talks about Novak Djokovic challenge, Wimbledon hopes, GOAT debate, doping in tennis, NextGen, and more

Speaking to FirstSportz, Holger Rune gets candid on his chances at Wimbledon, his take on the GOAT debate, and the disparity between the ATP and WTA Tour.

EXCLUSIVE: Holger Rune talks about Novak Djokovic challenge, Wimbledon hopes, GOAT debate, doping in tennis, NextGen, and more

Holger Rune (Image via Norway Posts English)

Holger Rune, projected to be the next big thing in men’s tennis, agreed to an exclusive interview with FirstSportz where he spoke about his buildup to Wimbledon, the GOAT debate, doping in tennis, and much more.


Before this grass court season, Rune had won no match on grass but as it is evident in Queen’s, he looks to be thriving on the surface. Can he have a fairytale run at Wimbledon this year? Only time will tell.

  • Having played Grand Slam events both as a seed and the one who goes against top seeds, what has the experience been like in the first few matches?

    I like way more being the seeded player 🙂 also, it’s nice it’s not the first time at every tournament but I have been there last year. Most of the Masters 1000 is still new for me but the slams I played also last year.
  • With good results on hard courts and clay, what is the biggest challenge on grass for you? (he was winless on the grass on the ATP Tour before Queen’s)

    I am working a lot with my physical coach on the movements on grass and the better I control this the more fun grass is. I am still very humble approaching every match on the grass.
Holger Rune
Holger Rune (Image via Sud Ouest)
  • You faced three opponents when they were ranked World No. 1 and defeated Novak and Carlos but lost to Daniil. Has their rank made any difference in your playing style against them?

    I defeated all 3 players. Novak in Paris and Rome, Carlos in Paris with a withdrawal in the deciding tie-break, and Medvedev in Monte Carlo. Their rank makes no difference in how I play. But for sure you know you need a lot of focus playing these guys. It’s not easy to win the points.
  • Simona Halep’s suspension made way for Mouratoglou to link up with you, what extra did Patrick bring to the table?

    He has a different approach than my Danish coach, more mental and I think I did benefit from this extra.
  • On the doping suspensions, what are your thoughts on tennis players getting charged with doping suspensions as more and more cases come to light?

    We need to follow the rules and play on the same terms and conditions. Otherwise, it’s unfair competition. As simple as that.
  • The WTA Tour often lacked consistency in rankings but today the ATP is seeing a constant shuffle while WTA has the top 10 locked in, what’s the difference as of now?

    Generation change is inevitable in both men’s and women’s tennis. It’s what happened in WTA and this is what’s on its way in men’s tennis also. In the transition time, we will see various number 1s.
  • Your take on the prize money debate in tennis for the Tour events? Is it time for women to get the same prize money as men in every tournament?

    I don’t know enough about this to make a comment.
  • The French Open saw a lot of mistakes from the umpire’s end, is it time for tennis to bring in football’s VAR?

    I think we have the challenge system. It normally works well. There will always be more areas that could be improved and I am sure ATP is aware of this.

Holger Rune on him, Jannik Sinner, and Carlos Alcaraz being the next Big-3

Holger Rune and Carlos Alcaraz
Holger Rune and Carlos Alcaraz (Image via ATP Tour)
  • You, Sinner, and Alcaraz are being seen as the successor to the Big-3 rivalry, what are your thoughts?

    Big 3 means 20-25 grand slams 🙂 it’s a little early to start talking big 3 before we even win grand slams on a regular basis. But for sure it’s a compliment people are saying this and that’s nice
  • Who is your favorite opponent to go up against excluding Nadal and Djokovic?

    I like to play the top 10. It’s challenging and brings out the best matches on both sides of the net usually.
  • Which opponent do you feel the tensest before any particular match or take extra effort in practice to prepare for?

    Novak for sure. If you do one thing wrong against Novak you lose. You need to be very well prepared.
  • Do you think can challenge Djokovic on grass? Do you think you can finally beat him in the majors?

    I didn’t win a grass match before this year, now in Queen’s. So to put me as a challenge to Novak is maybe more of a dream. Still, we always hope dreams can come true. And work for it. Let’s see.
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune (Image via Daily Mail)
  • Your take on people booing you unnecessarily? Does it affect your mental state?

    I like the atmosphere. I like a lively crowd. You cannot have people on your site always. I get extra energy when the crowd is lively.
  • Is the GOAT debate between Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic settled?

    In my opinion, the debate is foolish. We are taking about 3 tremendous players in each their way. A huge inspiration to all 3 for the generations below.
  • Your thoughts on guys like Nick Kyrgios? Do they make tennis entertaining and are people like him good for tennis?

    I like diversity. If we all are alike then the world would be a very dull place to be. Different opinions and different personalities are a good thing. Not bad.

Read more: WATCH: Holger Rune gives a death stare to Lorenzo Musetti after the Italian fires a body shot at the Dane

Read more: Novak Djokovic headlines a star-studded Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic that also features Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev