The world's top-ranked junior, Holger Rune, has set up a practice session with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The 17-year-old managed to arrange the collaboration after communicating with Djokovic via social media.
Holger Rune, the 2019 French Open junior champion, is one of the fastest rising youngsters on the men's tour. He has climbed more than 500 spots over the past year, to his current ranking of No. 317.
Never short of confidence or ambitions, Rune reached out to Novak Djokovic on Instagram asking if he could practice with the Serb. To Rune's surprise, Djokovic responded positively to his request.
"Novak Djokovic is the World No. 1," Holger Rune told TV 2 Sport. "I wrote to him on Instagram, to be completely honest. (To check) whether he was in Monaco or in the area, because I saw that he had withdrawn from Miami. Then he wrote back."
Rune went on to express his excitement for the upcoming session, which is scheduled for later this week on clay. The 17-year-old claimed he wants to test his level against Djokovic and see if he can take a set off the World No. 1 in practice.
"He hits the ball so clean, it's crazy," Rune said. "He does not miss many balls, so he is cool to train with. You get a good rhythm. You play lots of training sets. I hope he would like that (playing sets) so I can see if I can take a set from him."
Holger Rune recently made his debut on the ATP tour, playing as a wildcard in Buenos Aires and losing in the first round. He then qualified for the Chile Open, where he made a sensational run to the quarterfinals.
Rune believes the difference between his level and that of the regular professionals on tour is not too huge, and he asserted that it all comes down to better decision-making in matches.
"Now I have gained some experience at that level and know that the difference is not that big either," Holger Rune said. "There are some small things with the choices they make under different situations, but I believe I can at least play with him."
(Quotes translated using Google Translate)
I cannot play with a better player: Holger Rune on Novak Djokovic
Holger Rune believes that training with Novak Djokovic will help his game as well as his mindset. The Dane went on to claim that Djokovic is quite particular about the players he practices with, which makes this a rare opportunity.
"It is awesome. It also gives me confidence, because he does not (usually) train with anyone," Rune said. "I cannot play with a better player. He is No. 1 in the world. It will be good sparring for me."
This will not be the first time that Holger Rune will be on the same court as Novak Djokovic. As one of the top juniors, Rune was invited to be one of the official practice partners at the 2019 ATP Finals in London.
Besides Novak Djokovic, Rune was also able to hit with Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in London.