At Roland Garros,
Stefanos Tsitsipas probably broke a record this Monday at Roland: that of the fastest arrival in conf in history after a match. His executioner in the round of 16, the young Holger Rune, was still on the court putting away his rackets that the Greek was already announced on the way to the press room. This shows the frustration of the world number 4, finalist last year at Porte d’Auteuil and who obviously hoped for something other than this premature exit from the road.
But Tsitsipas fell on a little prodigy who tumbles like an airplane on the big circuit. Holger Rune, therefore, 19 years old and an angel’s face that you really shouldn’t trust. Ranked 450th in the world at the start of last year, he will soon be in the top 20 and quarter-finalist in the Grand Slam for only his third participation in a major tournament. So there would be another little genius hiding in the shadow of Carlos Alcaraz.
For just over three hours on Center Court, the Dane drove his opponent crazy, with his big serves and laser-like backhands down the line. Above all, he took over in all the important moments, despite body language that suggested the imminent implosion. “He plays with a lot of emotions, that makes him a very unique opponent,” observed Tsitsipas after the match. It feels like there’s always something bothering him when he’s playing. It’s weird, it’s something you don’t see often. But suddenly, he starts playing fantastically. »
It is one of the characteristics of the good man, indeed. But he is taking care of himself, according to his mother, who confided in The Team this Monday morning. “In tennis, you learn the hard way, on the court. Alone, ”recalled Aneke Rune, who follows the son on all his tournaments. The latter carries around a lot of self-confidence for his age. “If I play my game, I think I can beat almost anyone on the circuit,” he said during the debrief.
The Federer model
The Dane does not set limits, and when we have just released Tsitsipas, it is not the prospect of facing Casper Ruud on the road to the semi-finals that will be scary. “The fight will be fierce, but I have every chance,” believes the youngster, who had stuck a dance with Zverev at his home in Munich in April. Anyway, he sees himself as nothing less than world number 1 since he started kicking the ball, at just 7 years old.
His mother tells this anecdote which says everything about his character. For his first tournament, little Holger finished second. A tragedy that he had experienced very badly. “When he got home, he tore down all the posters of Nadal in his room. Nadal was number 2 at the time. And Holger told us: ”From now on, I’m a Roger Federer fan!” The Swiss also had his little mood swings when he arrived at the big boys . We saw what happened when he learned to channel his energy.