Holger Rune gets real about tennis' Novak Djokovic problem

Tennis needs lots of Grand Slam winners, not just Novak Djokovic.

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Let me start by saying I like Novak Djokovic. He is a fantastic player who could easily be the best to ever pick up a racket. The issue for Novak Djokovic sometimes is that he is too good. Tennis seemingly has been waiting for someone, such as Carlos Alcaraz, to take Djokovic's crown, but that has not yet happened.

One of the young players trying to overtake Djokovic not just in terms of being ranked No. 1 on the ATP tour but consistently giving the Serb some issues at majors is Holger Rune. Alcaraz and Rune are both 20 years old and could be the future of tennis along with 22-year-old Jannik Sinner. But before they can become the future they need to dispatch the past.

The simple fact, however, is that knocking Djokovic off at the highest levels is still nearly impossible. Sinner beat Djokovic in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals but then Djokovic defeated Sinner with ease in the final 6-3 6-3. Sinner did beat Djokovic later in the same week at the Davis Cup, but, no offense to the Davis Cup, that event is not held in the same regard as the Grand Slams.

Holger Rune wants to get Novak Djokovic 'out of there'

Tennis simply needs more variety to grow its global audience. In any sport, when a team or player dominates that is interesting to the fans that already exist in that sport. But an audience becomes stagnant if the same team or player is constantly winning. Fans need to find a player to love who wins at a high level but they also need a player to dislike who challenges their favorite player for titles.

In many cases, Djokovic is one and the same. He has his fans because of how great and unique of a player he is. But he has fans who do not like him partly because he wins too much.

In a recent interview with iNews, Rune said that to end this age of domination, the young players need to "step up." According to Rune

"We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to do it not just one time but more regularly because I beat him (in 2023), (Jannik) Sinner beat him, but he is still winning three out of four grand slams and maybe he almost won Wimbledon also. So we’re not there yet. We need to be there and do everything we can to get him out of there."

Holger Rune

The Grand Slam part is the most important. Casual sports fans likely do not know much about who wins Indian Wells, but they might know who won the French Open or Wimbledon. Parity can be a bad thing as well, but at least it gives many fans hope their favorite player will win. Domination is worse because fans tire of simply rooting against someone. Tennis needs to love what Novak Djokovic has done, but the sport also needs to hope for a few of the young guys because something akin to the Big 3.

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