●Dane next plays Tsitsipas
Holger Rune and Novak Djokovic played out another three-set epic on Sunday at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the Serbian prevailed to move to 3-2 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.
It is the fourth time in a row the pair’s clashes have gone to deciding sets, with Rune winning at least one set in all five encounters.
Despite his defeat, Rune was proud of how he fought against the World No. 1 again.
“We have had great matches always when we played,” Rune said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t do it today, but that’s how it is. I have to look forward and take the things out of the match I was happy with, take the things out of the match that I wasn’t happy with, and go back to the practise tomorrow and try to make them better.
“I thought it was a higher level match than in Paris, that I’m glad,” added Rune, who lost in three sets to Djokovic at the Masters 1000 event in France earlier this month. “The result was pretty similar. Novak is an amazing player.”
Rune, who is making his debut at the prestigious year-end event, pushed Djokovic hard throughout the three-hour, four-minute clash before ultimately falling short. The 20-year-old is pleased with how he handled the physical element of the match.
“I think physically I felt okay. Of course, I feel it. We played [for] three hours. But I’m sure he also felt it a little bit,” Rune said. “I was ready, if I had the chance, from 5-3 to 5-4 to keep going, but that didn’t happen. I think I tried to manage my energy as good as possible during the match, not use too much unnecessary energy, and stay calm and play the tennis that I like to play.”
Watching on in Rune’s box was coach Boris Becker, who had a successful spell working with Djokovic from 2014-16. The Dane is pleased to be working with the German.
“It’s great. It’s really good. He [Becker] has been there many, many times himself, which helps,” Rune said. “He can give out from his experience, give that to me on how to handle the things on the court, off the court. We are still in the tournament, so let’s continue to fight.”
Rune will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in his second Green Group match before finishing against Jannik Sinner. The 20-year-old is still alive in the event. [ATP Tours]