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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday May 14, 2023

Holger Rune

Holger Rune has Grand Slam glory on his mind as he makes his way deeper in the Rome draw.

Photo Source: Getty

He said it last year, after he stormed to the Paris Masters title by defeating five Top 10 players in succession. Five months later, 20-year-old Holger Rune is still saying it: he wants to win a Grand Slam title in 2023 and he believes his time is coming – pronto.

Tennis Express

“My goal is a Slam for this year,” he said on Sunday while doing an interview with Tennis Channel. “I won a Masters 1000, in Paris, and I feel like the next step is a Slam. I know it takes a lot. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn't, but I'm gonna go for it 100 percent. Now we're at French Open, and Wimbledon right after, and I feel good physically, I feel good mentally, I feel good in my tennis. So I'm trying to push as hard as I can for it and I hope it's going to be this year.”

Rune, who dispatched Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday in Rome to set a round of 16 clash with Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, is feeling like he is close to peaking at the moment.

“I feel good,” he said. “It's starting to get better and better each match. I think I'm improving. Right now I do everything I can do to be as best as possible [at the] French Open and you know, this tournament here in Rome can help me a lot so I'm pushing.”

Coaching: Mouratoglou Still Helping, Lars Christensen Still at Home

Though he announced that he’d be parting ways with Patrick Mouratoglou in early April, the Frenchman has still been a fixture in Rune’s coaching box this spring. Rune says he always welcomes the help from Mouratoglou, and adds that his head coach Lars Christensen is still a part of the team even though he is currently not present in Rome.

“I'm still a part of the Mouratoglou Academy and whenever the players need help, he's so kind to help. He's here with me this week together with my fitness coach, my mom and my analyst (Mike James), so I'm super happy for my team and Lars is back in Denmark, we are still together, so I have the perfect team.”

The New Big Three? Time Will Tell…

Much has been made of the talk about Rune joining a triumvirate that includes Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, the three 21 and under talents that are currently inside the ATP’s Top 10, in a new Big Three.

There will be a void to fill when Nadal and Djokovic have officially joined Federer in the sports’ retired ranks, but even Rune agrees that it’s too early to forecast what the future of men’s tennis will look like. All the ambitious Dane knows is that he wants to play a starring role.

“It's exciting for sure,” he said. “You know, it could be fun if this was the next Big Three of the future – we'll see, the future will show. I just tried to focus on myself. I don't necessarily need other players to push me. I can push myself but it's great to see that Alcaraz already won a Slam and became number one. Sinner is up there, beating Alcaraz, but he didn't beat me yet (the Dane is 2-0 against Sinner and 1-1 against Alcaraz).

“We'll see,” he concludes. “We had really close battles and he’s a crazy good player, so the future is exciting.”


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