'Tired and angry': Young rival lashes out amid Roger Federer drama

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Seen here, Danish tennis star Holger Rune and Swiss ace Roger Federer.
Holger Rune says the same rankings system that has benefited the likes of Roger Federer is unfair on players like himself. Pic: Getty

Danish young gun Holger Rune has hit out at the rankings system in world tennis, insisting that it denies players like himself a fair shot of rising up the world standings.

Rune's anger comes after 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer this week dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in nearly five years, leaving his legion of fans devastated.

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Federer - despite winning just nine matches in 19 months because of long injury lay-offs - has slid marginally out to World No.11.

The Swiss ace has benefited from the decision by the ATP to freeze ranking points during the global pandemic, allowing him to stay firmly entrenched in the world's top 20 when he would have almost certainly have slid further away from the top echelon of men's tennis.

The WTA employed the same rankings freeze which allowed Ash Barty to hang onto her No.1 spot despite missing most of 2021 due to the pandemic.

Barty's top ranking came off the back of winning the French Open and year-end WTA titles in 2019, holding onto the massive haul of points she'd earned in the process.

While in many ways the system seems logical during a period of unprecedented upheaval around the world, Rune says it makes breaking into the world's top 100 for players like himself virtually impossible.

"I am a hard working man and I normally never complain," Rune said.

"This year I have fought very hard to achieve my goals of becoming top 100.

"ATP has continuously made it very difficult for me."

Rune made a name for himself after taking a set off Novak Djokovic at this year's US Open before eventually succumbing to cramp and the World No.1's brilliance.

The Dane has claimed titles in three Challenger tour events since June, with his biggest victory coming against World No.24 Lorenzo Sonego.

Rune is currently the World No.123 but insists he would be closer to the top 60 if the rankings freeze wasn't in place.

"Players on the ATP ranking still have their points from results in 2019," Rune said.

"No matter their results in 2020 and 2021. On the normal ranking I would today be ranked 62 in the world."

Rankings system to return to normal in 2022

The system is set to return to normal in mid-2022 but until then Rune - who would otherwise have been granted direct entry to the Australian Open - will have to go through the qualifying process for the new year's first grand slam tournament.

"When you are ambitious and hard working it matters to get your reward," he said.

"With that ranking I would be able to enter better tournaments and I would feel that my hard work payed off. I feel tired and angry now because I think the system is unfair.

"I love my tennis but we have to compete on equal conditions."

Despite how few matches Federer has played over the last couple of years, his slide out of the top 10 still came as a shock to the tennis world. 

Seen here, Roger Federer looks on during Day 2 of the 2021 Laver Cup.
An injury plagued Roger Federer has benefited from the rankings freeze brought in because of the global pandemic. Pic: Getty

It is just the 12th week in 19 years that Federer has found himself outside the world's top 10.

It last occurred between November 2016 and January 2017 when he was also injured.

Novak Djokovic remains No.1 with 11,430 points and has an advantage of 1800 to second-placed Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Briton Cameron Norrie gained 11 spots to a career-high of 15th after winning his first Masters-level event in Indian Wells on Sunday.

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