Patrick Mouratoglou on what burned in Holger Rune | ATP Tour

Patrick Mouratoglou on what burned in Holger Rune | ATP Tour

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Renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who has worked with the likes of Serena Williams and Simona Halep, recalls meeting Holger Rune when the Dane was 13. His first impression of Rune’s game was that he was an all-court player with no outstanding shots.

“The fact that he’s doing so well in terms of results piqued my interest because there’s always a reason for that,” Mouratoglou, who is Runes’ coach alongside Lars Christensen, told “I remember seeing him play points with guys and I was like, ‘Oh, okay. I understand now.’

That “it” had nothing to do with technique or his shots at all. It was an intangible asset.

“Some guys have that competitiveness that’s on a different level. They can do their best when it counts,” said Mouratoglou. “You can sense the moment when the guy on the other side is more stressed and keep the ball in court and let the guy make the mistakes. Feel when it’s time to push and accelerate.”

Mouratoglou recalls speaking about it with Rune and his team, including Christensen and mother Aneke Rune. His passion showed.

“I could feel it burning inside, which is pretty rare. It’s funny because I’m in touch with a lot of young players, as you can imagine in my academy, and I always ask them about their hobbies,” said Mouratoglou. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, I love doing this and that.’ I say, ‘Do you watch tennis?’ And they say, ‘Oh no, I play tennis all day, I’m not going to watch tennis.’ I always find it sad. I’m not judging, but to get to the top of the game I think you have to be a bit obsessed with what you’re doing, whether you’re a musician, an actor or a tennis player.”

<a href=Holger Rune defeats Stan Wawrinka in a third-set tie-break and makes for a second-round showdown with Hubert Hurkacz in Paris.” />

Rune, the newcomer of the year at the ATP Awards 2022, also has great self-confidence. When he comes out on the pitch, regardless of who his opponent is, he believes he can win. Mouratoglou said it was there from the start.

“At first he had an incredible belief in his ability to achieve his dreams, which doesn’t happen very often because a lot of players are full of doubts and don’t dare to really dream and believe that they can do it. He believed 100 percent,” said Mouratoglou. “Secondly, he was all about tennis. He comes to tennis, does everything and whenever he has free time he watches tennis. He’s thinking about tennis, he’s really obsessed with the sport and I think that’s what makes the greats great and all the greats that we all know, they’re the same. They’re really, really passionate.”

A prime example of Rune’s confidence came at the 2021 US Open, where the Dane made his Grand Slam debut. Novak Djokovic tried to end the calendar year’s Grand Slam and Rune was his first opponent.

“My goal is not just to play here,” Rune told ahead of their first-round clash. “My goal is to win this tournament, even several times.”

“First of all, if you don’t think you’re going to win, you can play ten times better than the other, then you’re not going to win,” said Mouratoglou. “And it’s easy to say, it’s not easy to actually do.”

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According to Mouratoglou, this reminds him of a story he always tells about Djokovic.

“There was a time when there were two guys who were on top of the world, Roger and Rafa. They won everything. We all remember this time, everything. All the top 10 said privately at the time: ‘[It is] impossible to win a grand slam, we can’t beat these guys. They’re just too good,'” said Mouratoglou. “Novak arrived, he was 19. When he played Roger in a Grand Slam for the first time, he was interviewed the day before and said, ‘I’m going to beat him.’ I remember the press people being hard on him. “Oh, who does he think he is?” This guy, he just believed in himself.

“He didn’t win that match, but he ended up winning a lot against them and becoming world No. 1. So I think that’s something very special. The vast majority of players do not believe, and even if they do believe at some point, their belief is not very strong. So if they hit the wall one, two or three times, they stop believing.”

Mouratoglou believes that the players who make it to the top of the sport “have a really, really strong belief in their ability to beat the best and become the best”. That’s why he likes Rune’s mental approach.

“I love that attitude and it’s not disrespect at all because he has the utmost respect for these champions,” said Mouratoglou. “But he believes in his abilities and that’s a great thing and he should keep that 100 percent.”

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