Teenager Holger Rune stunned Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final on Sunday, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 against the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
The 19-year-old Rune, playing in her first Masters 1000 final, lost the first set and came from a break in the second to level the playing field.
He then had to maintain the courage of the decision maker, breaking the 6-5 lead before saving six stoppage points to claim the biggest title of his career.
The win makes Rune the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986 and places him in the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time.
“I want to start off by giving Novak big congratulations too,” he told Djokovic, who is 16 years his senior, in his post-game interview.
“You are one of my favorite players, I have watched you since I was a child, training with you. It is a pleasure to be able to share the court with you now.”
On the heels of 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz’s first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September, Rune now looks set to join the Spaniard as another of the game’s rising stars.
Djokovic had said before Sunday’s final how Rune “reminds me of myself”, and in the final the Dane had to channel the mental toughness and never-say-die attitude that characterized much of Djokovic’s career.
The win capped off an excellent week for Rune, having defeated five top 10 players over the course of the tournament, as well as saving match points against Stan Wawrinka in the first round.
When he won an epic 16-minute game to complete the win against Djokovic, Rune lay on the floor and covered his face with his hands in disbelief.
“If you told me four weeks ago, I would have been in the top 10… I’d be like, ‘What, sorry?’” he said. “Now I’m here and I’m super proud.”