Among the brightest prospects in men's tennis, one of the names to keep an eye on is undoubtedly that of Holger Rune. The 2020 junior Roland Garros winner has already moved the first boulders in the major circuit, highlighting remarkable qualities for a boy of his age.
His mother Aneke has been a constant presence throughout his young career, having helped him both on and off the pitch. It is not common for a player to be accompanied by his mother around tournaments, but it is not a very rare event either.
Just think of Judy Murray, who has always carefully followed the path of Andy and Jamie Murray. The same goes for Gloria Connors, who has been a central figure in the life and career of the legendary Jimmy. In a long exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Aneke Rune talked about the love story between her son and tennis, also focusing on Holger's admiration for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Swiss and the Spaniard, in addition to having won a lot, have brought many young people closer to this sport.
Rune has just started making his presence felt on the pro tour
"Holger used to come along to the courts with his sister Alma, who played tennis.
And he really enjoyed watching her matches on the weekends. While most younger siblings get bored, Holger took a chair, placed it right in front of the court, and watched the match from start to finish. When Alma's match was over, he would find another interesting match to watch, moving his chair to that court.
Holger is four years younger than Alma, who was around nine back then. He was not allowed to start at the local club before he was six, so he played football instead. But as soon as he turned six, he started tennis. All the young kids started with foam balls and mini-tennis nets back then, before gradually moving up to the orange ball and mini-nets on the smaller courts.
That's a great way to learn tennis because the small courts make you approach the net and try to serve-and-volley. This would not have been possible had he played on a full-sized court. Holger was a huge fan of Roger Federer back then.
He loved imitating various players, which was possible on the small courts" - she stated. "Holger has always been very dedicated when he has wanted to learn something - whether it was skateboarding, a specific subject in school or anything else.
In that respect, it was no surprise that he went all in on tennis; that was just his character. What was different about tennis compared to other things was that in tennis you never finish. You never find the perfect stroke, because so many conditions change - the surface, weather, opponent, balls etc.
So it's not like you can hit the ball perfectly every time, and Holger has this perfectionist gene so he keeps trying to improve" - Aneke Rune added.