Former junior world #1 Holger Rune is improving at an astonishing pace. On Thursday at the Pekao Szczecin Open, he was able to take out then second seed Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-1. “I didn’t expect it to be, I cannot say easy, but the score 6-1 6-1, but I think I played a very good match, that’s why it came out this way. I was very focused, had my game plan and played very well.”, said the 18-year-old about his performance. The match was initially started on Wednesday, but had to be delayed at 1-0 due to rain.
Rune has managed to add a lot more power to his groundstrokes in the last year or so, his serve also has a lot more pop now. Even an excellent returner like Andujar, who has been ranked as high as 32nd in the world and won four tour-level titles, was able to win just six points against the Dane’s serve. That’s in total, not just against his first serve.
An issue that was troubling Rune until recently is the physicality. Earlier in the season, he struggled with cramps in almost every deciding set and that issue returned to plague him on Arthur Ashe in the first round at the US Open. “I still have it sometimes, but it’s getting better. I’m learning how to deal with it. It’s only happened one time in the last five months (vs Novak Djokovic at the US Open). I think it’s also about relaxing more on the court, and today I was very relaxed”.
Most of Rune’s success so far in his career has come on clay courts, including his run to the Roland Garros boys’ singles title and the three Challenger titles he’s picked up this season. But the Dane is very confident that all the work he’s putting in will pay off on hard courts as well. “I think my game is pretty aggressive, and it suits both surfaces. I like to play heavy, which is good on clay but I also like be close to the baseline, which is very good on hard courts. I think I’m an all-court player” His most recent hard-court event was the US Open, where he qualified and then took a set off Djokovic in the opening round, before falling to a four-set defeat.
Main photo: materiały prasowe Pekao Szczecin Open