Danish player, Holger Rune, captured his first tour-level title at the BMW Open after his adversary, Botic van de Zandschulp, was forced to retire in the opening set of the championship match Sunday.
“This was probably the worst way to win a final,” said the BMW Open by American Express champion Holger Rune during the trophy ceremony at the Iphitos Tennis Club.
“I was obviously expecting a very tough match, and he came out very strong. I just wish him all the best, a speedy recovery, and we all just hope to see him back on the court very soon,” the wild card added.
Botic van de Zandschulp, who was not present at the ceremony, became a first-time ATP finalist Saturday by surviving World No. 38, Miomir Kecmanovic, after a three-hour semifinal battle, guaranteeing his ticket into the championship match.
After the hard-fought encounter, he stated: “I’m pretty tired. It was a long match, tough conditions, the court was so heavy, so I’m happy I made it through.”
The eight seed left all on court against the in-form Serbian, an effort which might have pushed him to the limit physically, fighting along the damp conditions experienced at the time of their clash.
However, the 26-year-old was leading Rune 4-3 on Sunday when an aching chest forced him to retire after one hour into the final match.
He started playing well, but soon there were signs something was not right, which saw him calling for a medical timeout.
Eventually, van de Zandschulp would come back and play a couple of points, but in the seventh game, he decided to withdraw.
Regardless of the short-lived match, the teenager’s campaign in Munich was flawless, leading to a much-deserved achievement resulting from a long-time-work commitment.
En route to the ATP 250 final, Rune, who did not drop a set, toppled Czech Jiri Lehecka. Stunned World No. 3 Alexander Zverev, earning a first top 10 win, Finn Emil Ruusuvuori, German Oscar Otte and World No. 40 van de Zandschulp.
The World No. 70 further commented: “I’m super happy, of course. As I said, not the way I want it to end, but if I look through the week, what a week! I played some unbelievable tennis, really fighting my way through it.
“To be playing here in Munich and winning my first ATP title in front of such a brilliant crowd, I couldn’t really ask for more.”
Rune has become the first Danish ATP Tour champion since Kenneth Carlsen in 2005 at the 104th edition of the BMW Open.
Later in the day, van de Zandschulp announced through social media his intentions to make it to his first-round match at the Madrid Open on Monday against 16th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
On Instagram, he wrote: “Unfortunately, I had to retire during the final today. I had some problems with breathing, and it was impossible for me to play.
“Thirty minutes after I retired, everything was okay again. I am flying to Madrid, and hopefully, I’ll be fit enough to play.”
The ATP Masters 1000 clay-court tournament runs from May 1st to the 8th.