Denmark’s Holger Rune and Holger Danske

Holger Rune half-swaggers, half-limps like John Wayne shot in the leg. He’s cramping again on a tennis court; he’s wound tighter than any watch in the Nordic lands. His lean teenage legs add muscle every month. Soon they will be like tree trunks. Soon he may learn that seas and men can be calm. Holger Danske never learned calm. He watches his beard grow onto the floor as he broods in a cellar in chains. Old men carve his figure in wood. Mothers read his story to children. Holger Rune’s mother was a ballerina: technique, discipline, passion, ambition. She moves planets to instill these traits in her son. Holger Danske breaks his chains to fight for Denmark when enemies threaten the Danish lands. As a teenager in Paris, Holger Rune beat five top 10 players in a row to win the Paris Masters. Never been done. Yet this was nothing when compared with how Holger Danske fought the Nazis in Denmark: underground, on the airways, till death do us part. Hans Christian Anderson wrote everything down. Cannons, castles, entrapment, swans. Holger Rune fights opponents with power, speed, variety: big looping forehands, nasty backhands, big second serves, soft drop shots. Like Holger Danske, he lives for the fight. If the crowd turns against him, he asks them to get louder. Bring it on, he says. Bring it on.

Holger Rune, Photograph By si.robi – Rune RG22 (4), CC BY-SA 2.0,

*Holger Danske was the name taken by a Danish resistance group under Nazi occupation in WWII.

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