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Holger Rune shoots down Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic suggestion for two reasons

Daily Express logo Daily Express 17/11/2022 Yasmin Syed
Holger Rune refused to write off Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal © Getty Holger Rune refused to write off Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Holger Rune has shut down suggestions that and 's era is finished with a new 'Big Four' taking over despite beating the Serb to win the Paris Masters title. The 19-year-old is part of an exciting new generation of players including world No 1 but believes that the two multi-Grand Slam champions can't be written off yet while his generation is still so young and the two veterans are still winning Grand Slams.

Rune enjoyed a triumphant end to the season as he stormed through the Paris Masters draw to win the biggest title of his young career, becoming the first player in ATP history to defeat five top 10 players at a single tournament outside of the top-eight ATP Finals. He capped off the week by upsetting Djokovic to lift the title and become the new world No 10.

Born just six days before Alcaraz - who won a Grand Slam this year and ended the season as No 1 - Rune has had a breakout year of his own after starting 2022 ranked outside of the world's top 100 and the teenagers are quickly becoming part of a new group of rivals with fellow 2000s-born players Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner. But the world No 10 has disputed the idea that the youngsters are going to dethrone the likes of Djokovic and Nadal.

"I hope so, it would be fine. I would feel privileged to be part of this group," the 19-year-old told Marca, discussing the prospect of forming a new Big Four with Alcaraz, Auger-Aliassime and Sinner. "But we can't yet rule out Nadal, who has won two Grand Slam titles this year, and Djokovic, who won one."

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Rolex Paris Masters 2022 - Day Seven © Getty Rolex Paris Masters 2022 - Day Seven

Explaining why he refused to write off the 22 and 21-time Grand Slam champions, he added: "In almost all tournaments they are in the finals. They have very long careers and we are very young." Rune also shut down comparisons between himself and "friend" Alcaraz, as he said he wanted to carve out his own path despite having his success overshadowed by the Spaniard this year.

"My goal is not to be better than Carlos but to be the best I can," he explained. "I have to focus on myself. What Alcaraz has achieved is incredible and he deserves to be where he is. I must make my way."

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Carlos Alcaraz of Spain poses with the year-end ATP No. 1... © Getty Carlos Alcaraz of Spain poses with the year-end ATP No. 1...

The Dane has spent the week at the ATP Finals as the first alternate while Alcaraz was unable to play after getting injured but arrived in Turin to collect his year-end No 1 trophy, and Rune said he congratulated the six-time title winner as he opened up on their friendship. "He is a friend and a rival at the same time," he said.

"I saw him yesterday and congratulated him for finishing as number one. We have known each other since we were 11 years old and we have a good connection. We played a lot against in juniors. He beat me and so did I, but always in very close matches."

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