Anyone who has followed the rise of Danish teenager Holger Rune must be familiar with his mother, Aneke Rune.
A constant presence in the player's box, Aneke Rune put her own business aspirations on hold to make sure that her son has all the support he needs to achieve his life-long dream; becoming the World No. 1 and winning Grand Slams.
Holger Rune made his breakthrough at Roland Garros this fortnight by winning his first-ever main-draw match at a Grand Slam and making the quarterfinals.
Aneke's face beamed with pride as she spoke to Sportskeeda about a variety of topics, including what it felt like to see Holger Rune work towards his dreams.
Here are some of the excerpts from the interview:
Sportskeeda: First of all, congratulations on the incredible season that Holger Rune has had in 2022 and his great run at Roland Garros this fortnight. How does it feel to see your son achieve some of the things that he, or rather all of you, as a family and a team, have been working on so hard for so many years?
Aneke Rune: Looking at the light and fire in Holger's eyes when he practices is worth it all and seeing him achieve his goals step by step makes me very happy. I have no share in this. It's all Holger. I am just his mother helping where it's needed.
Sportskeeda: There have been numerous firsts for Holger in 2022. Breaking into the top 100, winning his first ATP singles title, breaking into the top 40 and reaching the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the first time. Do you feel it is all going faster than you had expected? Or are you not surprised by his rapid progress?
Aneke Rune: If you ask me and our coaches and physical trainers at the Mouratoglou Academy, he could have achieved this even earlier. He has a special understanding of the game. He is not good at just putting balls inside the court and with his physique gradually improving, we only waited on Holger to realize that his level is at the absolute top of tennis.
Sportskeeda: Have you noticed any changes in Holger over the past year as he comes into his own in the sport?
Aneke Rune: He dares more than ever before. He makes the winners and he is working hard on staying focused during every point.
Sportskeeda: The match against Casper Ruud featured some great tennis. There was a lot said by both sides after the match. What do you hope that Holger learns from the match and post-match experience?
Aneke Rune: That he needs to keep his focus on the court in every match, like he did in the previous four matches, because then he can beat every player on the tour. Since his goal is to become the best player in the world, this was good learning.
Sportskeeda: While Holger Rune has been making rapid progress, a lot of the attention in the men's game has been focused on Carlos Alcaraz, who is also 19 years old and already ranked No. 6 in the world. Do you think the spotlight being on Alcaraz has helped Holger as he makes his way up the ranks? Or does it provide him with more motivation?
Aneke Rune: The two boys have competed since the under-12s along with a bunch of other very good boys from 2002 and 2003, like Musetti.
I think they inspire each other. They are good boys. Hard working and ambitious. It's important for the sport to have several players with the same fire and energy. If we look through history, Federer, Nadal and Murray, and later Djokovic, they pushed each other to a whole new level.
Sportskeeda: This is the first time that Holger has reached this far in a Grand Slam which has days off in between matches. How is Holger adjusting to that schedule and how did he spend his time on his off-days in Paris?
Aneke Rune: Oh, it was pure luxury with a day off in between matches. Especially when you come from having played qualifying in the ATP, so that's 7 matches to reach the final in an ATP 250 with no rest days. So this was heaven for Holger. Plenty of time for treatment and he had his sister in Paris as well so he enjoyed time with her as well.
Sportskeeda: I'm not sure if Holger Rune has spoken about this but with no points being offered at Wimbledon, is he as excited to be playing there this year or has it dampened his motivation for the tournament? Any change in his scheduling for the grass season?
Aneke Rune: After the Munich victory, Holger had already decided to play Stuttgart and Halle. He really liked Germany and the Germans. Unfortunately, he will not play in Stuttgart now since his ankle has to recover. But he will play Halle.
Wimbledon is Wimbledon, points or not. It’s a Grand Slam, it’s a historic event. It has never been an option to not play. In 10 years from now, no one will remember who played or not, or if they had no points, but they will remember the winner.
Sportskeeda: Finally, one last question, as Holger Rune continues to take steps towards being the best player in the world and achieving his life-long dream, how has the ride been so far? Has it been like you had imagined.. or more exciting than you thought it would be.. or something else?
Aneke Rune: Holger is still Holger, no matter his ranking. He is a happy boy who loves to play tennis and has a big passion for the sport. We, around Holger, are also the same and we all enjoy the work now as we did back then, so in that sense it’s the same. But for sure, it is satisfying that results come. I don’t think any of us would like to work without seeing any progress. And indeed he progresses all the time. So it’s a fun journey.