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  • "On paper it’s impossible to beat Novak Djokovic, but in real life, everything is possible" - Holger Rune
Holger Rune believes he can defeat Novak Djokovic.

"On paper it’s impossible to beat Novak Djokovic, but in real life, everything is possible" - Holger Rune

Holger Rune recently talked about what it takes to triumph against 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic. Rune claimed that the Serb, despite all of his achievements, isn't invincible.

The Dane was last seen in action at the 2023 ATP Finals in Turin. Seeded eighth, he was drawn in the Green Group alongside sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, home favorite Jannik Sinner, and eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

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Rune began his campaign with a 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 3-6 loss to Djokovic. He was, however, awarded the win in his second group stage tie as Tsitsipas retired mid-match due to an injury.

With a chance at a semifinal berth, Holger Rune took on fourth-seed Jannik Sinner in his last round-robin match. Although Rune put up a fight, the Italian ousted him in a three-set thriller, 2-6. 7-5, 4-6.

During an interview on the Advantage Connors podcast, Holger Rune said that while he respects his opponents, he has faith in his own abilities to beat anyone - even US Open champion Novak Djokovic.

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"I think that when I enter the court, I have strong belief in my abilities and what I can do out there. I respect my opponent but I’m never going to be afraid and also, I feel like, they ask me, ‘You know, play a guy with 24 Grand Slams,’ and yes I know but if I would think that, I would already have lost the match," Rune said.

Rune added that while it may not be easy, it is possible to beat Djokovic.

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"So I can’t allow myself to get these thoughts into my mind because on the paper it’s impossible to beat him [Djokovic] but in real life, everything is possible. So I just got to stay in there, take my chance. We know he’s the best but even the best can be beaten. So that’s what I am telling myself," the 20-year-old said.

Novak Djokovic has a slim lead in his head-to-head record against Rune. The Serb has three wins to Rune's two, with the most recent clash going Djokovic's way at the 2023 ATP Finals.

Overall, the Dane registered a 44-24 win-loss record in 2023. He won one title, the Munich Open, and also reached multiple Masters 1000 finals.


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"We have kind of similar game" - Novak Djokovic on Holger Rune

Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune pictured at the 2023 ATP Finals in Turin Nitto ATP Finals - Day One
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Holger Rune made it to his maiden Masters 1000 final at the 2022 Paris Masters, where he faced 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic. The young Dane came from behind to clinch the title, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to halt the Serb's 13-match unbeaten run.

At the 2023 Paris Masters, the World No. 1 exacted revenge on Rune by securing a 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 win in the quarterfinals. Following the victory, the ATP Finals champion credited the 20-year-old for his performance and mental strength.

"Quite similar match to last year's final to be honest. Was really anybody's game every set. You know I played an awful tiebreak in the second set, to be honest probably the worst one this year but again credit to him for staying mentally tough and playing solid from baseline," Djokovic said in his post-match interview.
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The Serb went on to mention that he and Rune have some similarities in terms of playing style.

"We have kind of similar game, we both move well, defend well and kind of all-round players," Djokovic added.

Novak Djokovic had a successful 2023 campaign, ending it with a record eighth World No. 1 year-end rank. He registered a 56-7 win-loss record, collecting seven ATP titles along the way.

The Serb clinched the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open, as well as two Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Paris. The Serb also triumphed at the ATP Finals for a record seventh time, surpassing Roger Federer's record of six year-end championships.

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Edited by
Aniket Rai
 
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