Australian Open umpire smacks down Holger Rune after ugly act caught on camera

The Danish player was fortunate not to cop a bigger penalty over the incident.

Seen here, Danish tennis star Holger Rune and chair umpire Marijana Veljovic at the Australian Open.
Danish tennis star Holger Rune got a telling off after a petulant act in the direction of chair umpire Marijana Veljovic at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

Denmark's Holger Rune has escaped serious punishment after a petulant outburst involving a chair umpire's microphone at the Australian Open on Thursday. The World No.8 was sent packing from the second round on a dramatic day at Melbourne Park, following a shock loss to unheralded Frenchman, Arthur Cazaux, in four sets.

Rune became the highest seed in the men's draw to be eliminated from Melbourne Park after going down 7-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 to the World No.122. In a battle of young guns it was the less fancied 21-year-old Frenchman that reigned supreme against Rune, whose frustrations tipped past boiling point in the second set.

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The 20-year-old Dane was a set and a break point down at the time when he hit out in anger towards respected chair umpire, Marijana Veljovic. Rune was crossing past the officials chair at the change of ends when he smacked out at a microphone attached to where the chair umpire was sitting.

Veljovic promptly called the young Dane back to have words with him, before hitting the eighth seed with a code violation for his questionable conduct. Rune could consider himself lucky the penalty wasn't even greater, with any form of violent action towards tennis officials treated with the utmost seriousness in tennis.

German star Alexander Zverev was famously disqualified from the Mexico Open in 2022 after attacking an umpire's chair with his racquet and verbally abusing the official. Zverev was fined $40,000 in the immediate aftermath and was also later hit with an additional eight week ban and $25,000 fine - both of which were suspended and only triggered if he reoffended.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic was also famously disqualified from the US Open in 2020 after inadvertently hitting a female line judge with a ball after losing a point. Rune's offence is undoubtedly at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of severity, but he could very well have been hit with a point penalty and fined as a result of his Australian Open outburst.

Holger Rune cops a ticking off from chair umpire

Commentators said the incident proved Rune had lost his mental focus during the match and deserved the telling off he got from the chair umpire. “He had that coming, because he effectively hit the umpire’s chair,” Nick Lester said in commentary.

Aussie tennis great John Fitzgerald claimed it was proof the French underdog had left his more fancied Danish opponent rattled. “This is always an indication to the other end that you’ve got your opponent under pressure,” Fitzgerald said. “You can’t touch anything (on the umpire’s chair) but it wasn’t too vicious. Look, I’m sure there’d be no real penalties for that. Maybe there will but I would doubt it. You’ve just got to let him know, though.”

Pictured left to right, chair umpire Marijana Veljovic and Holger Rune.
Chair umpire Marijana Veljovic gave Holger Rune a telling off and a code violation after he hit out at a microphone. Pic: Getty

Cazaux's shock four-set win set up a third round clash with Dutch 28th seed, Tallon Griekspoor, who dispatched another Frenchman Arthur Fils in the second round. In other man's round two action on Thursday, Zverev snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a five-set marathon win over Lukas Klein. Zverev was two points away from elimination when serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the fifth set, but held his nerve to oust the Slovakian qualifier 7-5 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (10-7).

Australian hope Thanasi Kokkinakis' campaign ended after a 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 loss to in-form Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. The 13th seed - unbeaten in 2024 after winning the Brisbane International - highlighted his title credentials at Melbourne Park to send the Aussie fan favourite packing.

Fellow Aussie Max Purcell pushed No.11 seed Casper Ruud all the way in a gallant 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (10-7) loss. Ruud will next face top-ranked Brit Cameron Norrie, who turned the tables on Italian Giulio Zeppieri after falling two sets behind to win 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 6-4.

Two-time grand slam champion Carlos Alcaraz overcame a tricky second round encounter with Italy's Lorenzo Sonego, before prevailing 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3). While Russian World No.3 Daniil Medvedev had to wait until after 11pm to get on court before surviving a huge scare in a come-from-behind 3-6 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 triumph against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori that ended after 3:30am.

with agencies

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