Holger Rune and Alcaraz emulate Djokovic and Murray with 15-year first

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Holger Rune and Carlos Alcaraz will achieve a 15-year first when the ATP rankings update on Monday. With Rune set to make his top 10 debut after winning the Paris Masters, it will mark the first time since 2007 that two teenagers are in the top 10 of the rankings together, with the last two coincidentally being Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Rune made history with his title win at the Paris Masters on Sunday as he became the tournament’s youngest-ever champion, and the first man on record to beat five top 10 players in a row at a single tournament, not counting the ATP Finals which only allows the top 8 players to compete. He came from a set down to lift the title in heroic fashion, outlasting Djokovic 3-6 6-3 7-5 in two hours and 29 minutes.

And the Dane will now become a top 10 player himself after reeling off victories over Djokovic, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Alcaraz, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz this week. Born just six days before world No 1 Alcaraz, they will now be the first teenage pairing in the top 10 of the ATP rankings since Djokovic and Murray in 2007, when they were 19.

The former world No 1s are almost as close in age as Rune and Alcaraz, having been born seven days apart in 1987. And the two 19-year-olds could well go on to have a rivalry as exciting as Djokovic and Murray did, battling for Grand Slam titles and the world No 1 ranking during the Brit’s peak.

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The teenagers’ rivalry began this week in Paris when they faced off in the quarter-finals as Rune stormed to a 6-3 lead over the top seed. Alcaraz was able to force a tiebreak in the second set but suddenly retired just four points in after injuring his abdomen before medical evaluation revealed that it was torn, causing him to end his season early.

They had also faced off during the Next Gen Finals last year, with the 21-and-under tournament using a fast-4 scoring system. It was eventual champion Alcaraz who won that battle 4-3 4-2 4-0, and it may not be long before the pair are battling it out at the official ATP Finals.

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Rune has also become the first alternate for this year’s edition of the event in Turin thanks to his Paris Masters win, as he moved up to 10th in the race. With Alcaraz’s withdrawal, the initial first alternate – Taylor Fritz – earned a spot in the draw while Rune will travel to the season-ending championships to be on call in case another player pulls out.

Alcaraz and Rune already enjoy a good relationship off the court – much like Djokovic and Murray – and the Dane was one of the first to send his well wishes to the US Open champion when he announced the end of his 2022 season. “Get well and see you full of energy in Australia,” Rune wrote, already eyeing up the next instalment of their rivalry with a potential Aussie Open clash to start 2023.

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