Holger Rune defeated Casper Ruud in three sets at the 2023 Italian Open booking his second ATP Masters final on clay this year.
Rune and Ruud played a couple of times already and this was the first time the Dane was able to defeat the Norwegian. It was a really entertaining match with some drama on top of great play by both players with Rune emerging victorious.
Their rivalry is more than your typical one because they exchanged some words after their match in Paris last year. Rune was looking for a more friendly match overall this time around because he doesn't see a point in dwelling on the conflict from last year but the medical timeout drama didn't sit well with Ruud.
After the match, Rune was asked about their previous conflict and similarly to his semifinal opponent, he said that things are now well. The two have talked about it and even their handshake after the match suggested that all is fine.
"Yeah, we didn't practice actually. All good. I mean, we obviously talk after French Open and we're good. I have zero problem with him. He's a great player. He's showing some of his best tennis, especially on clay. He's tough to play. I respect him a lot. I'm happy to finally get my first win over him."
The young Dane also spoke about Scandinavian players as the Nordic countries enjoy a lot of success with Rune representing Denmark, Ruud holding the Norwegian flag high, while Emil Ruusuvuori represents Finland well, with the Ymer brothers doing the same thing for Sweden.
I think it's great to see that we have now many good players in the top hundred, obviously two now in top 10, from Scandinavia. It's showing good signs of the northern part of Europe, that we can play good.
His response also alluded to the storied past of Scandinavia in the sport as he namedropped legends like Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, and others.
I mean, obviously, back in the days we had a lot of Swedish players, amazing players, like Bjorn Borg, Wilander, these guys. It's cool to see. As I said, it's cool to see that we can play some good tennis.