Locker room ‘lie’ ignites bonkers tennis feud

Rising tennis star Holger Rune has admitted he needs to improve his “emotional control” following a disgruntled quarter-finals exit from Roland-Garros at the hands of eighth seed Casper Ruud.

The Danish teenager was defeated by Ruud 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 in a tense battle on Wednesday.

Throughout the match, Rune became enraged, repeatedly shouting at himself and the umpire, and seemingly beating his mother to clear out of his player’s box.

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The hostility between the players reached boiling point during a cold post-match encounter at the net, with Rune hurrying through the customary handshake. Ruud subsequently reacted with a disapproving shake of his head.

But the antics reportedly did not end there.

Rune has since claimed that Ruud was “so unsportsmanlike during the match”, continuously talking over the 19-year-old on court.

“I didn’t want to give him a hug after the match. He got a high-five and then I just had to get away from him”, Rune told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

He also claimed that the Norwegian taunted him in the locker room afterwards.

“(Casper) just went straight up to me and shouted ‘YES’ right up in my face,” he said.

“You can cheer on the court all you want and be happy. I do that myself when I win. But that’s such bad style. Have some respect.”

Ruud’s father, who is also his coach, dismissed the locker room allegation as a “pure lie”, while the seven-time ATP title winner himself said Rune needed to “grow up”.

“I don’t know Holger personally, but I have seen on TV that sometimes there can be a lot of drama,” Ruud told Norwegian tabloid VG.

“He’s young and new, so that’s excusable, but when you’re on a big stage, it might be time to grow up a bit.”

Heavily criticized for his poor act of sportsmanship at the net, Rune appeared to address his behavior in an Instagram post on Thursday.

“I have given my heart and my soul in every match in Paris,” he wrote.

“I put a lot of passion in my work because that’s how I am. I am proud of my development and I also see there are things yet to be better.

“My quarterfinal I didn’t find my level and it’s frustrating. Still I should be able to find a way to win and this requires more emotional control. I am aware of this and will improve.

“Let the development continue and let’s focus on the positive.”

Nevertheless, there is still debate over what went down in the locker room following the match.

“What (Holger) says is wrong,” Ruud told Eurosport.

“What he says is really not what happened. We both were in the dressing room after the match, and it’s obviously a huge dressing room. There are many players, so we were just in our own part of the room all the time.

“I took an ice bath, ate some pizza and listened to music before we went home. While Holger sat in his part of the dressing room.

“How he creates the story of me shouting ‘YES’ straight into his face is just a lie. It never happened. It’s a big lie. It’s disappointing that he creates lies about me.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if he thinks I am a player who doesn’t follow the fair play rules, that’s not really what matters.

“That’s his personal opinion, but to put out lies about me like this is not right. I really wish this is the last time he will do something like this.”

This was the fourth time the two rivals have met, with the record standing 4-0 in favor of Ruud.

The world No.8 will next play 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic on Saturday for a place in the final.

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