Novak Djokovic v Holger Rune: ATP Finals – live | ATP Finals

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Key events

*Djokovic 1-0 Rune (*denotes server) Rune begins with a backhand winner down the line, sending Djokovic’s serve hurtling straight back past him, then sticks in the next rally long enough for Djokovic to net. Ahahahaha, for all the good it does him! Djokovic takes the next four points to hold – though Rune is absolutely clubbing it/

Rune is puling up his shorts; Djokovic to serve; and play.

Rune’s shorts are short. I’ve not idea how they’re comfy, but you can’t put a price on style.

Here come our players!

Email! “As a die hard Federer fan,” writes Max Williams, “I accept the debate ended a while ago for tennis. It’s now where does Novak rate in terms of the best sportsperson. Him, Bolt, Bradman, Biles are the names I can think of who are clearly the best to have done it in their respective fields. Sure there are others. Ali still stands alone as the greatest person to have participated in sport which isn’t quite the same.”

Er, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Phil Taylor, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Wayne Gretzky, michael Jordan and Michael Phelps are also in the conversation, I guess.

We’re watching footage of the players warming up, Rune showing off his legs. Djokovic is wearing three different shades of green, like a mid-00s goalie.

In interview. Djokovic notes that mental strength is one of his biggest weapons, rhapsodising a great year and reminding those who’ve forgotten that he won every match he played at this tournament last term. No doubt he’s humbled by all the success he’s had.

Anyone care to tell me what’s going on?

alcaraz in a terrible but not as terrioble varsity jacket
Photograph: Marco Alpozzi/AP

Of how many majors are we stripping him for this monstrosity?

Djokovic in a dreadful varsity jacket
Photograph: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Aha, we’ve got some coverage – previously, we’d been informed the start would be “around 8pm”.

I imagine Rune will be doing everything he can to keep points short, looking for serve plus one: he won’t just want to hit his spot, he’ll want to set up a big forehand for his second shot. Djokovic will do what he usually does, but I imagine he’ll get Rune on the bike then look for winners from the back and the occasional drop.

I wonder if, once Djokovic has turned it in, Rune will be Carlos Alcaraz’s main challenger. Alcaraz doesn’t enjoy playing Sinner, who can also attack him with power, and Rune might move better. We shall see…

Regular readers will be familiar with Coach Calvin Betton, who reckons as follows: “Rune causes Djokovic problems because he’s so aggressive and has a ridiculous self-belief. He’s beaten him a few times. But he’s also not in great form. Imagine Djokovic sees him off, but Rune can hit through him. He hits flat and hard so doesn’t give Djokovic a natural shape of ball that he likes to play off. And most importantly he thinks he’s better than him.”


Evening all and welcome to the ATP Tour finals – day 1! Already today, we’ve enjoyed Jannik Sinner – this blog’s outsider for this title – deal with Stefanos Tsitsipas, and now we’re about to see Holger Rune have a hack at Novak Djokovic.

Rune is, of course, a terrific player and prospect, but perhaps his biggest strength is his unshakeable certainty that he’s the greatest player of all time – a sense that’s unlikely to have been diluted by the appointment of Boris Becker as his coach. So he won’t be fazed by facing the second greatest ever – who needed three sets to beat him in Paris last week – and if Rune’s power-game is working, this will be a really fun match.

Djokovic, though, is, well, Djokovic; how else to describe a unique freak of nature totally unlike anything else ever seen in any sport? Most likely, he repels whatever Rune has to offer, deals with the rest of the field in short order, and ends a three-Slam season by defending this title before chuckling at the mind-boggling extent of his brilliance and humility. But don’t write off Rune: he believes he can do this and if Djokovic isn’t bang at it – yes, yes, I know – he’s a good chance of making something happen.

Play: 9pm local, 8pm GMT

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