Novak Djokovic reveals what he told “emotional” Holger Rune in locker room chat
Novak Djokovic explained why he could “relate” to Holger Rune after he defeated the Dane in the first round of the 2021 US Open.
The world number one revealed he spoke to Rune in the locker room after the match – describing it as “an emotional moment” for the world number 145.
Djokovic overcame the 18-year-old qualifier 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Rune was hampered by cramps in the third and fourth sets after recovering from a break down to edge the second set in a tiebreak to level the match.
“I did have struggles with injuries and retirements early in my career – that’s why I can relate to Holger, you know, what he’s going through. We just had a little chat in the locker room,” said Djokovic.
“It’s an emotional moment for him and it’s not easy to see that – he’s really sad. I understand that, I’ve been through that. I just told him that he handled himself extremely well.
“You know, he didn’t want to stop. So I thought he was going to stop at the end of the third, but he just kept going and – with dignity – finished off the match.
“He deserved definitely my respect, the respect of a lot of people. He’s still very, very young – 18 years old. So, he’s got plenty of time ahead of him. I’m sure we are going to see a lot of him in the future.”
The 34-year-old Serbian will face Tallon Griekspoor in the second round in New York as he continues his quest to complete a Calendar Slam.
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