Roger Federer accused of being ’40 times worse’ by Holger Rune after locker room row

Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros

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Holger Rune has accused Roger Federer of being “40 times worse” than he is during the early stages of his illustrious tennis career. The 19-year-old came under fire for his on-court antics during his French Open defeat to Casper Ruud at the start of the month.

Rune struggled to stay on top of his emotions during his quarter-final clash at Roland Garros as he repeatedly shouted at himself and the umpire and yelled at his mother to leave the arena. The Dane argued with the umpire right up until the very last point and barely acknowledged Ruud following the conclusion of the match as he gave his opponent a quick high five at the net.

And the drama apparently continued in the locker room as Rune later revealed that his adversary had shouted in his face.

The teenager has now defended his actions on Court Philippe-Chatrier, however, and insists he is nowhere near as bad as 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer was. “If you saw Roger Federer as a youngster, he was maybe 40 times worse than I was,” Rune said. “And he’s one of the most beloved tennis players on the tour – so I think I have plenty of time to get an even better image.

“I have an extreme passion for this sport and sometimes I show it too much. But I’m 19 years old. I’m still young and I work every day to bring out only the positives in my attitude – and that’s a process. I just see that as differences and I think that’s great. If all people were the same and think the same, it would be horrible to live in this world. It’s great that you think what you want, and you like the character you like.”

Federer is widely regarded as a gentleman on the court and built a reputation for his down-to-earth demeanour when he was racking-up title after title during his most dominant days on the Tour. But Rune’s claims mirror those of Federer’s former coach Madeleine Barlocher, who worked with the Swizz ace at the Basel Old Boys Tennis Club in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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“As a teenager, and especially when he left for the Ecublens Study Center, he started to cry a lot and become capricious,” Barlocher said of Federer last year.

“In Basel he progressed very quickly. Suddenly he was satisfied. Then when he started the big tournaments, he didn’t progress as fast. Suddenly he got frustrated on the ground and often threw his racket. Otherwise he always swore but, well, that’s the lot of all young people.”

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