THE ‘Big Four’ of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been humanised by 18-year-old Holger Rune, who says “they’re not gods”.
One of the top rising stars on the ATP Tour has given his insight into the ‘Big Four’ of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. 18-year-old Holger Rune took a set off world No 1 Djokovic during their US Open encounter earlier this year.
Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray have spent several years at the top of the game, with the Big Three each holding a record 20 Major singles titles for a male player, and Murray having three to his name.
The four players have shared the world No 1 ranking since February 2004, with no one else making it to the top spot in 17 years.
Even when they have been injured, the others have continued to dominate and make the Grand Slams a monopoly.
However, one young player is ready to break that dominance and has his own take on the Big Four that has already helped him contend with Djokovic on the biggest stage in sport.
Holger Rune has cemented himself as one of the top up-and-coming players, set to have a breakout 2022 after a successful end to the season.
While ranked world No 145, he took a set off world No 1 Djokovic in the first-round of the US Open, while the Serb was in his quest for the Calendar Grand Slam.
Having qualified for the tournament, the Dane put up a good fight and even got the 23,000-strong Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd chanting his name before the 20-time Grand Slam champion defeated him 6-1 6-7(5) 6-2 6-1.
Rune has now opened up on that meeting, and the mentality he is using to help him achieve his goal of knocking players like Djokovic off the top.
“I was obviously very nervous. I had time to prepare myself mentally for what was gonna happen,” he told EssentiallySports.
“I think already, in this age as an 18-year-old, to take a set [off Djokovic] is a great achievement. Something I can be proud of and build on, which I did afterwards.”
When discussing the chance of playing Murray, Nadal and Federer, Rune admitted that they made some “weird choices” when on the match court.
He said: “It’s great to also try to compete against these guys. But also, they’re not gods, so they make mistakes. They take some weird choices on the court because they are also nervous.”
Giving his opinion on Djokovic and the other greats, the 18-year-old added: “They are also human.”
Rune was also ready for the next generation to take over the dominance of the three 20-time Major champions, saying: “Well, that’s the plan, I hope so! I’m telling myself also to come take over!
“We’ve already seen some new guys like Zverev and Medvedev. But still it’s great not to see Roger, Rafa all the time and Novak, even though they are probably the best of our sport.
“We miss those matches where they played against each other but it’s still good fun for the audience to have some new blood and some new energy.”