Rune: Novak will leave when we start constantly beating him

Several great young players don't get the respect they deserve because they are in Novak's shadow

by Sededin Dedovic
Rune: Novak will leave when we start constantly beating him
© Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Holger Rune, the 20-year-old Danish tennis star, issued a rallying cry for his generation: beat Novak Djokovic, consistently and decisively, to see him into retirement. Along with Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, Rune leads a new wave of talent that threatens to topple the established order.

"We all had great seasons," Rune said, acknowledging the accomplishments of his peers. "Jannik was phenomenal, Alcaraz won Wimbledon! It's great for the sport that we can be this group that dominates the tour." But the young Dane is not blind to the reality at the top.

"I'm not saying we're dominating yet. Novak is still there and we have to try to remove him." Djokovic's dominance this year, with three Grand Slam titles, showed that Novak is not thinking about retirement yet. "We can't say he's gone," Rune stated.

"We have to beat him every time, not just once. If he keeps winning big tournaments, why would he stop?" He tasted victory over Djokovic earlier this year in Rome, but the Serbian veteran took revenge in Paris and Turin, sending a clear message.

"He won't stop until we take him down," Rune asserted. "And we'll do that if we get up as soon as possible."

Novak is an inspiration to young players

But beyond the competitive drive, Rune sees the bigger picture. "I actually like that Novak is still around," he admitted.

"It helps us younger people to see what is needed. If we had never experienced Roger, Rafa or Novak, I think we would be missing something." The best tennis player in the world has set very high standards, but since Rune and the team are very young, they have a chance to reach him.

"Novak sets extremely high standards," Rune admitted, "and it's very helpful for us to see that firsthand." The future of tennis is shaping up to be an exciting battle between generations, while Novak Djokovic remains a formidable force, young players want to dethrone him, of course with respect for the legend of the sport.

Dethroning a king will not be a one-time feat, it requires continuous excellence and a concerted effort. The young players are aware that when Novak leaves, a new era of tennis will begin where they will not be in the shadow of the best of all time.