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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Fraser Watson

Novak Djokovic likens Holger Rune to world No.1 after defeat to teenager

Novak Djokovic has compared Holger Rune to the current world No 1 after the teenager's upset win in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday.

After beating four of the top-10 players in the world en route to the final, the Danish youngster again defied the odds, coming through 3-6 6-3 7-5 in an epic clash that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours. It meant a third ATP title, and rounds off a breakthrough year which saw him reach the French Open quarter finals.

Rune had to fend off six break points as he served for the match, before sealing what was undoubtedly the biggest win of his career. And afterwards, a beaten Djokovic likened him to another 19-year-old, US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz.

"They are similar in terms of physicality," Djokovic told Eurosport afterwards. "I think they are both really fit. They train very hard. They are very dedicated guys. They defend, both of them, extremely well."

The 21-time Grand Slam champion has also backed both players to further improve as they get older, adding: "Rune has a better backhand. Alcaraz has a better forehand. But they are both improving on those shots that maybe are not as good as maybe other shots.

"When I say 'not as good', meaning it's not a huge difference. They have great shots, great forehand from Rune or great backhand from Alcaraz. They are very complete players for 19-year-olds. Also their energy on the court, just wanting, motivating themselves and wanting to do well and staying mentally present, it's impressive."

Denmark's Holger Rune celebrates with the trophy after winning the Paris Masters (AFP via Getty Images)

Rune meanwhile, said in his post-match press conference that he was now "eying bigger dreams," but has withdrawn from the ATP Finals in Turin next this month. Alvaraz, who withdrew from his clash with his fellow teen in Paris because of injury, will also be absent.

Both however, will be among the favourites for the Australian Open in January. Whether Djokovic will be in Melbourne remains to be seen, having been deported from the country before the 2021 tournament following his explosive visa saga.

The Serbian remains unvaccinated against Covid-19, and whilst he is now eligible to travel to the country under the now relaxed laws, he's currently serving a mandatory three-year ban for his deportation. His hopes of being given an exemption were dealt a blow last month when leading politician Dan Tehan publicly said exceptions could not be made.

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