Holger Rune said his surge up the world rankings in a stellar 12 months felt surreal, but the Danish teenager is fully focused on building on the momentum in 2023 as he gears up for the season’s first Grand Slam in Australia.
The 19-year-old won three titles in 2022, including his first ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris, where he defeated 21-times major champion Novak Djokovic in the final after getting past four other top-10 players along the way.
Rune begins his season on Sunday against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the Adelaide International, a tournament where he was ranked 103 in January. The ATP Newcomer of the Year admitted his rise to number 11 felt dreamlike.
“Yeah, it’s happened a lot. I still remember when I was here one year ago and to be here at a different ranking and different everything, it feels great. It’s been a great season,” Rune told a news conference on Saturday when asked if 2022 felt “surreal”.
“Obviously some ups and downs, as well, but all in all, I keep improving, keep believing and I’m happy where I am right now. But still I want to continue to do better.”
Rune said he had extended his partnership with Patrick Mouratoglou, who initially came on board as his coach in October until the end of the year, with the noted Frenchman now set to work with him at the Australian Open.
“It’s great to have him in my team. We have a lot of fun both on and off the court and he’s a really good coach. He’s coming with a lot of good advice to me, both mentally, tennis, everything,” Rune said.
Rune said his 2022 exploits meant he had earned the respect of his opponents but there was also a target on his back.
“But I don’t really think about it. I just think it’s great that I keep believing, working, improving and that’s really what I focus on,” Rune said.
“Every other player on the tour and that plays in Melbourne is good... Every match is going to be tough and I’m excited to take the challenge.”