Holger Rune feels like a superman flying over the tennis world after his Paris triumph over five Top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic, en route to his first Masters 1000 title. That kind of run was a first at an ATP event.

That said, this late-season, indoor-court glory has proved short-lived for many past champions. It’s unfortunate, but the way the modern tennis world works is this: You haven’t achieved true elite status until you’ve blown the roof off the 4-pole tent known as the Grand Slams.

Past Rolex Paris Masters Champions Karen Khachanov, Jack Sock and David Ferrer have yet to achieve Grand Slam greatness. They are now known as solid ATP Tour players but not perennial contenders to win Slams. What about Holger Rune?

Holger Rune v Djokovic

After Rune’s 3-set win over Djokovic, we now have a 2-match body of work for this emerging rivalry. It stands at 1-1 in the head-to-head. Djokovic and Rune first met in the first round of the 2021 US Open– a memorable match.

The self-assertive youngster took a tiebreak set off Djokovic at that US Open before cramping heavily in route to a 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 loss. The feeling coming out of the match was that Rune might be onto something if he could enhance his fitness. The final of the Rolex Paris Masters showed he’s improved significantly on that front. While the longer points in Paris left him gasping for air at times, Rune won most of the longer rallies and maintained pace and accuracy on his ground strokes.

After one particularly long rally, Rune strategically allowed the serve clock to expire, knowing he’d get a warning from the chair umpire. He did this just so he could give himself a few more seconds to collect oxygen. It paid off.

Djokovic had been 30-0 after winning the first set in Masters 1000 finals. Rune toppled that streak.

Rally Length

Was the Rolex Paris Masters Final an indication that Rune can compete in the steeper challenge of best-of-five set matches in Grand Slams? Let’s have a look inside the numbers.

The vast majority of points on the ATP Tour are played in 4 shots or less, and this match was no exception. Holger Rune and Djokovic played 117 points in the 0-4 category, according to statistics from Infosys. Djokovic won those short points by a wide margin, 67-50. Typically the winner of this category wins the match. Not this time. This match was decided on the longer points. Holger Rune won both the 5-8 shot rally category as well as 9 plus. His total margin on rallies over 4 shots was 41-30. That was the decisive blow.

Who would have thought that Novak Djokovic would be out-rallied in any match? Holger Rune proved he’s up for the fitness challenge. That said, in the pressurized atmosphere of a Grand Slam– and with having to win additional sets– Rune will need to prove he’s mentally and physically ready.

Biggest Number in Holger Rune’s Favor

Father time is undefeated. Djokovic, in congratulating Holger Rune, posted a fun picture of himself with Rune as a boy. It underscored the age difference between the 35-year-old megastar and the 19-year-old Rune. In fact, if they do meet at a Grand Slam in the next few years, the biggest number in Rune’s favor will be his age.

But as the Big 3 have proven, age is only one number in a complex matrix of factors it takes to cement Grand Slam glory.



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