Novak Djokovic accused Holger Rune of “stealing” his locker room at the Shanghai Masters after pulling out of the event. Top players get their own designated rooms at the tournament which come with a sign listing everyone who previously used it. With Rune making his debut in Shanghai, he was given the locker room last used by Djokovic.
Djokovic is currently taking a short break from tennis, skipping the Asian swing before he returns at the Paris Masters. It means that the world No 1 won’t be in Shanghai as the tournament makes its return following a four-year hiatus.
In his absence, Rune has been given his old locker room at the tournament as he makes his debut in Shanghai. The world No 5 shared a video to X (formerly known as Twitter) showing his room alongside the list of its former occupants – Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. “How cool is this locker room,” he wrote.
And it caught the attention of one of the previous owners. “You stole my locker room!??” the world No 1 jokingly replied. Djokovic had used the room in 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
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It could prove to be a good luck charm for Rune, as all four of Djokovic’s title wins in Shanghai have come when he has used that exact locker room, while Nadal reached the final when he occupied it in 2009 and 2017. The 20-year-old will be hoping that he can regain some form at the eighth Masters event of the year after struggling with a dip in his results after picking up an injury.
Rune had been struggling with a back issue after changing his service motion. The world No 5 also recently split with Patrick Mouratoglou and linked back up with his old coach Lars Christensen, who is said to have corrected the serve. And it has paid off, as the Dane recently won his first match since July.
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After reaching the Wimbledon quarter-final, Rune crashed out in the first round of the Canadian Open and US Open, also retiring from his opening match in Cincinnati. He lost a match during Denmark’s Davis Cup tie against Brazil but last week he was able to win his opener in Beijing before losing to Grigor Dimitrov.
The 20-year-old is one of four top-10 players making their debut in Shanghai this week. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud are also set to compete in the Masters event for the first time. And the Spaniard has received another high-profile locker room in his debut, as he has been given the spot Roger Federer used for 12 years – spanning back to before the Shanghai Masters existed, and when the venue staged the ATP Finals.
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