Title-hungry Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune believes he is developing the ability to win big matches and deal with pressure moments after being crowned 2019 ITF Junior Finals boys’ champion.
Rune defeated Harold Mayot 7-6(3) 4-6 6-2 to seal victory and, in the process, end France’s hopes of a national double following Diane Parry’s success in the girls’ final earlier in the day.
As well as lifting silverware, the 16-year-old, who is Denmark’s first ITF Junior Finals winner, also guaranteed himself top spot in the junior world rankings when they are updated on Monday.
Having tasted Junior Grand Slam success at Roland Garros in June and with the accolades mounting, Rune is increasingly confident that he has the welcome habit of performing on big stages and when the stakes are at their highest.
“I have won a few of finals now; the European Junior Championships at Under-14 level, Junior Roland Garros and now this,” Rune told itftennis.com.
“You need to have something to win those finals as it’s not easy. You have a lot of nerves before the match and there is always a lot going on.
“It’s about calming those nerves, drawing on your experience and focusing on your game. Going forward having the ability to do that is massive.
“If the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray couldn’t handle the pressure then they wouldn’t have won the Grand Slams they have.
“There are a lot of Top 20 ATP players that could win a Grand Slam but don’t have the mentality. I’m getting there.
“That’s where I want to go and having that mentality is a process. I’m willing to go through that process and go through the pain to get to where I want to be.”
Despite insisting that his game-management prowess is evolving, Rune admitted it was hard to suppress the pre-match tension prior to his showdown with Mayot, a player he defeated 7-6(5) 7-6(6) in the round-robin stage of the competition.
“I was pretty nervous beforehand. I had a lot of messages saying ‘you can be junior world No. 1’ so I was little stressed,” said Rune.
“I don’t think either Harold or myself played our best in the first set. It is a final so there are bound to be nervous points, that’s a part of tennis.
“I’m happy, though, that I could keep calm and focus mainly on the tennis. I’m so pleased to get the win and the title. I’m delighted.”
Junior world No. 5 Mayot, meanwhile, more than played his part in an absorbing final and indeed a tournament during which he defeated Junior Grand Slam winners Jonas Forejtek and Shintaro Mochizuki.
In the end, however, having worked his way back into contention by levelling matters in the second set, the third proved a bridge too far.
“I did not play too well in the first set and in the third it was tough for me to play after being broken. He managed the match very well,” said Mayot.
“You can learn from defeat as much as victory, so we will see. There are some positives and some negatives. He is the toughest opponent I have ever played, there is no doubt about that.”
France’s Valentin Royer sealed third place at the 2019 ITF Junior Finals by overpowering Japan’s Mochizuki 6-3 4-6 6-0.
A full breakdown of results from the 2019 ITF Junior Finals, including final standings, can be viewed on the tournament page here.
A gallery of photographs from the 2019 ITF Junior Finals can be viewed here.