Novak Djokovic jokes he will ask Holger Rune for tips after Italian Open loss

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Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune Credit: Alamy
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune Credit: Alamy

Novak Djokovic has joked he will ask Holger Rune for advice after his quarter-final defeat to the Dane at the 2023 Italian Open.

The world No 1 also declared that he has no tips to offer the 20-year-old star, who has now won two of the three matches he has contested with the Serbian great.

Rune prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 against the defending Italian Open champion in two hours and 17 minutes at the ATP Masters 1000 event earlier today.

The world No 7 also secured an impressive 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over the 22-time major champion when the pair met in the final of the Paris Masters in November last year.

Djokovic won his first encounter with the Dane 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the 2021 US Open.

Following his defeat in Rome, the 35-year-old was asked if he had any tips to offer Rune for his career.

“I’m going to ask him tips. He beat me twice we played against each other, so I have no tips for him. So far he’s doing very well,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.

The six-time Italian Open winner then addressed whether rising young players, including Rune and Carlos Alcaraz, are among the favourites to win the 2023 French Open.

“Yeah, obviously, a new generation is here already. I mean, Alcaraz is No 1 in the world from Monday. Obviously he’s playing amazing tennis,” the Serbian continued.

“I think it’s also good for our sport that we have new faces, new guys coming up. It’s normal. We’ve been saying this for years, that we can expect it to come, that moment to come when you have kind of shift of generations.

“I’m personally still trying to hang in there with all of them. I’m happy with – of course, very happy with – my career so far. I still have the hunger to keep going. Let’s see how far I’m going to play.”

With Djokovic’s exit, there is guaranteed to be a new Italian Open champion crowned this week. Rune will face either Casper Ruud or Francisco Cerundolo in the semi-finals at the Foro Italico.

The 2023 French Open will be held from May 28 to June 11. Rafael Nadal is the defending champion, but his participation is uncertain.

The 14-time Roland Garros winner has not played since January when he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open.

Djokovic is a two-time French Open champion, triumphing in Paris in 2016 and 2021.

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