Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune - Roland Garros 2023

Holger Rune claims players ‘need to try and get Novak Djokovic out’

Holger Rune has revealed what the likes of himself, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner would need to do to get Novak Djokovic thinking about retirement.

Rune finished his 2023 season by making his debut appearance at the ATP Finals, but he could not advance from the group that contained eventual finalists Djokovic and Sinner.

The 20-year-old reached a career-high ranking of No.5 earlier this year, and has spoken about his budding rivalry with fellow young stars Alcaraz and Sinner.

“For the sport, it is really cool, really great to have this rivalry between the three of us,” Rune told Jimmy Connors on his podcast. “We had the generation of Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak, [Andy] Murray, [but] I think for the sport to grow I think it is really amazing to have this group of guys that can dominate the tour.

“Not that we are doing it now, we need to do more. I am not saying we are dominating the tour already as Novak is still there. We need to try to get him out of there.”

Djokovic won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open in 2023, losing his only Grand Slam match to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

And Rune was asked by Connors about whether he thought the next-generation could make the Serb consider retirement, “I have to agree and I do agree. But the fact is, Novak is still winning three out of four Grand Slams this year. So we cannot say that he is gone because we need to beat him like not just one time but like every time.”

The Dane continued, “I will try to beat him every time because if he keeps winning this big tournaments, why would he stop? I mean he is not gonna stop until we beat him so the sooner we can get the level raised, the sooner we will take over.”

Despite suggesting that he wanted to remove Djokovic from the top of the sport, Rune went onto reveal that he actually likes having the 24-time major winner on the ATP Tour.

“I actually like that Novak is still here because you know for us young players to really see what the real world is in a way, what the real deal is, you know,” explained Rune.”

If you never experience Roger, Rafa or Novak, I think we would miss something and I think Novak is like extremely high standard and I think for us so close to see that is very helpful.”

Inside the baseline…

Rune managed to beat Djokovic earlier this year at the Italian Open, however the Serb has turned their head-to-head back around since. At this moment in time, it doesn’t seem as though the next-generation are likely to make Djokovic even contemplate retirement, as even on the rare occasions that he does lose it is usually in a tight match.

READ NEXT: Jannik Sinner could ‘push’ Novak Djokovic ‘towards retirement’ claims French Open winner

Holger Rune and the rest of the ‘new big three’ vs Novak Djokovic

Despite Rune talking about the emergence of himself, Alcaraz and Sinner, all three players have losing records against Djokovic.

However, Sinner is the only player to win his most recent meeting with the world No.1:

Rune vs Djokovic: 2-3

Most recent meeting – Djokovic beat Rune, 7-6(4) 6(1)-7 6-3 (ATP Finals Round-robin, 2023)

Alcaraz vs Djokovic: 2-3

Most recent meeting – Djokovic beat Alcaraz, 6-3 6-2 (ATP Finals Semi-final, 2023)

Sinner vs Djokovic: 2-4

Most recent meeting – Sinner beat Djokovic, 6-2 2-6 7-5 (Davis Cup Semi-final, 2023)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.