Holger Rune’s 2022 Rolex Paris Masters campaign could so easily have been an unremarkable first-round exit. Instead it became a career-altering run that featured five consecutive Top 10 wins and a first ATP Masters 1000 title, earning him a place as first alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals.
The 19-year-old Dane saved three match points in a first-round thriller against Stan Wawrinka, his lone opponent not inside the Top 10. But after dropping the opening set against the Swiss, he did not lose another until Sunday’s final, a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win against Novak Djokovic.
“It’s quite incredible,” Rune said of his dream week. “To stay here with the trophy, it’s an amazing feeling. Something that was tough to expect, starting the week off having three match points down. Then now to be able to be here with this beautiful trophy is an absolutely amazing feeling.”
Rune said the gravity of his accomplishment did not sink in immediately after the final, as he was focused on staying in the moment during the match. But he allowed himself to take a step back soon after.
“It was very emotional after the match. It’s probably the best feeling of my life, of my whole career,” he said. “It’s kind of a small dream come true, even though I have bigger dreams. It’s a really good step on the way to be able to play these kind of matches against one of the greatest players like Novak. To be able to win that last game was the biggest relief of my life. My stress level was very high, so I’m super happy to come through.”
Rune saved six break points in a marathon final game as he served out his victory and avoided a decisive tie-break. After sealing the win on his second match point, he celebrated with his team in the stands, sharing a long embrace with his mother.
“She’s so important,” he said. “Without her I would obviously not be here today. She’s been supporting me since I was a little kid, and she’s still here. It’s amazing to have her by my side. Also my whole family — my dad was here today and my sister back home. It’s amazing to have my family supporting me so well. So I appreciate that.”
Set to become the first Danish player to reach the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Rune has surpassed even his own expectations by booking his ticket to Turin as first alternate.
“Of course I’m going to go to Turin,” he said. “I’m one out. I wish [for] all the players that I’m not going to play, because I wish them to be healthy, but at the same time it would be awesome if I got to play.
“I didn’t expect that at all four or five weeks ago but now I’m here. I’m super happy how I officially ended my season, and if there possibly is more matches, I’m just super excited for it. Right now I just can’t wait to get some sleep, get some food, just relax totally.”