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Frederik Nielsen Discusses Worst Grand Slam, Rune, Isner, Fritz

Former 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Nielsen revealed some interesting inside information about the no. 4 ranked Grand Slam, Big John Isner’s suspect scheduling strategies and some interesting dilemmas faced by Denmark’s rising force Holger Rune…

The 40 year old Nielsen, who retired in 2022 after a 21 year pro career, discussed these topics and more in an interview with Danish journalist Nicholas Albek, which can be read at the Spilxperten site

Nielsen is one of the most remarkable underdog stories of Grand Slam history. He won Wimbledon with partner Jonathan Marray, as a wildcard entry, by defeating Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau in the five set final, after upsetting the Bryan Brothers in the semifinal. Nielsen won three ATP doubles titles in his career and his best ranking was no. 17 in 2013.

Here are some nuggets from the Nielsen interview with Albek…

The US Open is the worst Grand Slam

“The US Open is the worst Grand Slam. When I think of the US Open, I just think of sweating. I was sweating all the time, and the distance from the training facility in the park to the actual courts is so far, and the quality of the training courts is low—relatively speaking, if you only compare between Grand Slam tournaments. It’s extremely humid and hot, and transportation is always a hassle.”

“Besides, I’ve always played terribly at the US Open. My wife lived in New York before she came to Denmark, and when I visited her there, where I had to train and play, I played terribly as well. I’ve never played well, but New York as a city is absolutely amazing.”

The best part was that the tournament came at a good time in the season, as there’s a bit of a break afterward, so when I lost early—which was every time—I could stay there and enjoy the city. A lot has changed since then, with some upgrades to the facilities, but I haven’t experienced it myself as a player.”

Isner was the most boring player

“John Isner was the most boring player. He was so good, and he did so little to cultivate it. He played 250 tournaments before each Grand Slam and burned out at the Grand Slams. I don’t think he gave it a legitimate run at any of the four Grand Slams, even though he has the best serve in the world. It was so boring for me. The lack of ambition was boring, so that’s what I look at.”

“Among active players, I would probably point to Taylor Fritz, Alexander Zverev, and Jannik Sinner. Zverev doesn’t seem like he enjoys being there. I respect that he plays efficiently, but it’s not watchable. Honestly, I also find Jannik Sinner a bit boring to watch because everything is so monotonous. He’s almost too good a guy.”

Holger Rune´s temperament is not that bad

“The talk about his temperament maybe shows how dull a generation there has been. If he had played in the 80s or 90s, it would have been completely normal. He might not even have been noticed.”

“But because the others are so ‘vanilla,’ he stands out a bit. I think, for example, that it’s a shame that Novak Djokovic doesn’t just embrace himself and stand by the person he is. When I was that age, I was far worse than Rune is. The same was true for both my teammates and opponents.”

“It might just look a bit more intense because there aren’t many like him, and because there’s a camera on him 24 hours a day. I never really thought it was that bad. He’s young, and to me, it’s just a signal of how much he wants it. He shouldn’t get rid of it completely, but he will probably figure out more and more when it is constructive and when it doesn’t help him as much.”

“It’s hard to understand how much there constantly is. I’ve seen it when we’re at Davis Cup, where he can’t even warm up before a match. He can’t even be in the gym without some of the accredited people coming up to talk to him, and that’s from people who should understand the situation but still come and bother him.”

“They pull and tug at him everywhere, so you have to ask them to give him some peace. Aneke (mother of Holger) is also not someone who lets herself be pushed around. She fights those battles on her son’s behalf, and I think that’s really important for him.”

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