Player-turned-coach Nicolas Massu has said that his healthy working relationship with Dominic Thiem has translated into a good run of form for the Austrian on his watch.
Speaking at the ITF coaches’ conference, organized virtually by banking consortium and prominent tennis sponsor BNP Paribas, Massu said that a good personal equation between a player and coach often shows in the performance of both in their respective roles.
The Chilean said both he and his pupil have found a fair degree of success working with each other. Massu, who was named Chile’s non-playing Davis Cup captain after his retirement from tennis in 2013, said, “You need to be close to the player to be successful.”
The Chilean added that both he and Thiem respect each other’s achievements in the game, which has translated into a healthy personal relationship. He said his role is not to introduce bulk changes in Thiem’s game, but be there to advise on his improvement whenever the Austrian needs it.
“We respect each other and work on improvements when he needs it. In the beginning we didn’t know each other, but we talked a lot and adapted to one another. We travel together, and we think about tennis in a similar way. I had watched him many times before I started working with him – and when I started, I knew that he would improve on hard courts with some minor tweaks to his game. But he is very receptive and always looking to improve. He is a very good guy, an example for all kids,” said Massu on his good personal ties with Thiem came about.
Massu said he still obsessed with tennis and finds joy in whatever he does to stay involved in the sport. He said, “And as for me, I am very motivated. I love what I do. I’m crazy about tennis.”
Their association yielded plenty more positive results, especially on clay and hard courts.
Continuing his run of success under Massu, Thiem reached the final of the Australian Open this year. However, he lost the title clash to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. However, his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title ended at the Flushing Meadows this year as he outlasted German Alexander Zverev in a gritty five-setter to take home the trophy.