SECOND on the ITF junior rankings, 17-year-old Dane Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune may still be young but is another with plenty of potential, with the 2019 Junior Roland Garros title behind him and the surface versatility to go far in the senior rankings. Still developing and currently sitting outside the top 500 on the ATP Tour, Rune has played just the five career matches on the senior Tour, with 2020 touted as a critical year for the young talent.
While his development against senior bodies – especially at the elite level given he has mostly laboured on the ITF circuit this year – has been impeded in 2020, there is no doubt he has found plenty of success sitting on a 67 per cent win rate for the year, with 27 of his 30 wins coming on clay. What Rune may lack in experience, he makes up for it in droves with his winning ability, with three clay court ITF M15 titles for the year. Factor in that he had not had any major success on the men’s tour prior to 2020, despite sharing his load between junior and men’s in late 2018 and throughout 2019, and Rune’s immense development in such a short time is a real testament to what he can do once he breaks onto the ATP Tour scene.
The youngster has all the makings of being a top talent on Tour, and a win against Benoit Paire in late November well and truly proved that – Rune’s first official top 100 encounter, and effectively maiden top 30 victory, too.
“It was brilliant,” Rune wrote in a blogpost on the ITF website. “I was down two match points in the third set and I came up with two crazy passing shots and suddenly the match was mine. It is something I will always remember as it was my first Top 30 win.
“Benoit is a cool guy and his serve is amazing. It was a fantastic experience for me and we were also very lucky that spectators are allowed at sporting events in Denmark, so it was lovely to play in front of a home crowd.”
While Rune’s plan for 2020 was to win a Challenger event, issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst border closures and strict restrictions, saw little opportunity for the Dane to achieve his goal. But the driven 17-year-old says that watching other young players perform on the ATP Tour and achieve their goals kept his hunger alive.
“Thanks to the young guys on Tour I can see a pathway and I’m working towards big things happening. If I keep improving and having good results, the Next Generation ATP Finals in 2021 are possible and an aim of mine.
“There are no guarantees of success in life, but it helps a lot when you can actually see yourself on the way up, there is a clear goal and the road you need to take is realistic as long as you put in the work.”