Danish tennis player Holger Rune has caused an uproar and forced the ATP Tour to open an investigation into homophobic expletives that the 18-year-old player screamed during a semi-final match in Biella, Italy.
Playing a Challenger tournament in the Northern Italian city, Rune uttered the phrases ‘you are a pussy player’ and ‘you are playing like a faggot ass.’ Shortly after saying those phrases, he shouted ‘Allez, faggot’ when winning a point during a match which he eventually won and then went on to win the overall tournament.
The former World Number One Junior’s comments prompted backlash on social media with many fans criticising him for his choice of words. On his official Instagram account, Rune stated that his words were directed at himself and nobody else.
View this post on Instagram
Rune also issued a statement to TV2.dk where he apologised for the remarks and to anybody who he might have offended by his words. He also apologised on his Instagram account.
“I’m young and I need to learn. Not that that allows me to say crap like that. I was taught a lesson, and I think it’s fair that people criticise (me). I’m really sorry and hope people will accept my apology,” he said.
However, on the same day as Rune issued his statement his mother accused TV2 of ‘harassing’ her son for what she described as a ‘wrong comment.’ Aneke Rune, who is also the manager of the tennis player, hit out at those who she claims are trying to ‘make news and gossip from a hard working young man.’
“If you are a man you can apologise as Holger did if anyone felt offended by his words to himself in the match. Do NOT harass Holger for a wrong comment TV2 and who else is out there trying to make news and gossip from a hard working young man,” Aneke wrote on Instagram.
Det er vist lige i overkanten, hvis man mener, at det er chikane, “opdigtede” nyheder og sladder, når Holger Rune-sagen rulles ud.
Heldigvis svarede den unge, myndige mand godt for sig, da han lagde sig fladt ned og sagde undskyld for en dumhed. #tennisdk #HolgerRune pic.twitter.com/YnEqp4Owqb
— Jacob Qvirin (@jacobqvirin) June 6, 2021
In a statement issued to TV2 on Monday, the ATP has confirmed that they are investigating the incident under the official code of conduct (section 8.04).
“ATP is committed to ensuring an inclusive environment for all players, staff and fans, and there is absolutely no room for homophobic remarks in tennis,” a statement reads.
“According to section 8.04 N.2 of the Player Code of Conduct, ATP is in the process of investigating the comments of Holger Rune during a match on Saturday 5 June 2021 in ATP Challenger 80 in Biella.”
Christian Bigom is the chairman of Pan Idræt, a multi-sports club in Copenhagen which focuses on ‘inclusion of people with a special focus on sexual orientation and gender diversity.’ Speaking about Rune’s comments Bigom argues the focus shouldn’t be on the individual but why these phrases are being used in the first place.
“I think it’s fine that Holger Rune has said sorry. That is really good,” he said to Ubitennis.net.
“I would rather ask a question about why it is these words that are used. To me, it testifies to a very negative language used in the world of sports. Not only in tennis, but certainly also in football.”
18-year-old Rune is currently ranked 291st in the world. He claimed the French Open boys’ title in 2019 and recently won his maiden Challenger title in Biella on Sunday.
Last Updated on Jun 9, 2021