By Kurt Thyboe
Just what is it about this warrior that makes an old bestselling author/crooner/dancer like me enjoy watching him play tennis so much?
There is precious little chance for anyone to figure out what’s going on in Holmens head. He is a man of few words – the silent but deadly type whose actions say much more. If there is one player at who does not flinch during the heat of battle, it is this incarnation of Thor, the great Dane Claus Holmen. Calm under fire? Holmen practically invented the phrase. Much like Bjorn Borg, Holmen is wrapped in a cloak of simple but effective routines before and after each point. Like when he flashes a blink at a pretty cleaning-lady in the crowd or when he pays no attention to the crowd and wees in the empty ballcans?
Today, as I sit and smoke my cigars at BTSK´s Café Inside, I look out on the sad grey wintersky hanging over Birkerød, a Copenhagen ghosttown suburb, where Holmen does his training at the BTSK Tennis Club, Holmen enters the café like the good guy cowboy in a Clint Eastwood western: slow, calm, deliberate, pistol by his side. And, oh yes, he has a scruffy goat beard, too. Holmen takes a seat right next to me.
“Kurt”, he says “I play tennis the way I live; I try to enjoy myself on and off the court. But Kurt, I am really sensitive to the sadness you feel about the grey wintersky hanging over Birkerød and I want you to feel good. “This is a really tough moment for me,” Holmen discloses. “Kurt, it could the last moment of your life. I really enjoyed your CDes and your many books and essays you´ve done on your death, but it isn’t easy for me to play tennis if you´re going to die here in Café Inside. I makes me feel sad , it’ll not be easy to recover. But I have energy in my body, in my heart, and that will help me to play this big challenge at the SwanMiller Hall. I have to close the interview. And Kurt, you will always be one of my idols".
Winning the Svenska Mesterskap would be one the the 5 biggest titles of Holmen’s career so far. This is the 23rd time that he has competed in the season-starting championship.