Holger Rune, 19, said it was “tough” and “fun” to practice with Rafael Nadal as he described the Spaniard as a “very nice and polite guy.” Leading up to the US Open, 2022 French Open semifinalist Rune got a chance to practice with record 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal.
Rune admitted that he definitely wanted to do well during his practice session with Nadal and noted that the Spaniard went full intensity. “It’s tough and fun because it’s very high intensity and Rafa’s playing with a lot of spin and aggression in his shots,” Rune told David Kane of tennis.com.
“But it’s a good challenge, and you really have to be quick on your feet because he practices incredibly fast and hits the ball quite hard. I give my all when I practice with him, which I think he likes. He’s such a nice guy and really polite, and humble.
If I miss a ball, he’s going to run for it anyway. I actually wasn’t even nervous to practice with him; of course, I wanted to play well but he’s such a great champion and I can really see why. He gives every practice full intensity, and whether he plays good or bad, he’s giving it his all”.
Rune on drawing Novak Djokovic at the US Open
Exactly 12 months ago, Rune made his Grand Slam main draw debut at the US Open. After winning three qualifying matches, Rune was drawn to face 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic in the first round.
Rune competed extremely well against Djokovic, but the Serb managed to close out the match in four sets 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-2 6-1. “I saw Novak was drawn to play a qualifier so I was sort of hoping and thinking, ‘Maybe,’ and then I just randomly saw an Instagram message telling me he was my first-round opponent.
I told them, ‘You can’t be serious,’ but then I checked, and it was true,” Rune recalled. Now, Rune has been through to the US Open third round after John Isner gave him a walkover due to an injury.