Holger Rune - Queen's 2023, Roger Federer - Shanghai Masters 2023

Holger Rune reveals that Roger Federer was on his mind during comeback win

Holger Rune had to produce a fightback in a deciding set tie-break at Roland Garros yesterday, and the Dane revealed that he took inspiration from a previous Roger Federer victory.

Rune actually led Flavio Cobolli by two-sets-to-love, before being forced into a fifth set by the Italian.

This deciding set went into a ten point tie-break, with Cobolli leading Rune 5-0 at one stage before the 21-year-old won eight of the last nine points to claim a 10-7 victory.

After the match, the world No.13 spoke about how Roger Federer’s 2020 Australian Open quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren was on his mind, where the Swiss saved seven match points in the fourth set.

“All of a sudden, it came into my mind a match when Roger played Tennys Sandgren at the Australian Open,” explained Rune. “He won in a five-set match tie-break as well, and Sandgren had many chances. It was kind of in my mind. I don’t know how it appeared, it just did.

“I just switched my brain off a little bit and just tried to go for my shots. Roger is always very relaxed when he’s playing. I told myself, okay, let’s try to relax. Then I started to hit my shots better, more freedom, got back on track.”

It is not the first time that Rune has won a fifth set tie-break, having also beaten Francisco Cerundolo (Roland Garros 2023) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Wimbledon 2023) in this format.

And Rune spoke about how he likes to talk to himself in these important moments, “I have something I say to myself in tie-breaks, which I don’t want to share in case any players are listening. But they’ve worked really well so far, it’s a very simple thing I say to myself, and I usually play my best tennis in tie-breaks.

“I’m really focused on each point and I play free and at the same time stay really solid and enter a pretty good mindset in those tie-breaks.”

Rune will now turn his attention to the third round, where he will play against lucky loser Jozef Kovalik tomorrow.

Inside the baseline…

In his young career so far, Holger Rune has proved that you just can’t count him out until both players are shaking hands at the net. The Dane has such a strong mindset that allows him to keep fighting until the end of each match, and this is especially prevalent at the biggest tournaments like Roland Garros. Without being disrespectful to Jozef Kovalik, Rune will be pleased with his upcoming draw and will be hoping for a straight sets affair to save energy for the latter stages of the tournament.

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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.