“An Example for All Kids”: Coach Details Why Dominic Thiem is an Inspiration for All

Published 12/27/2020, 11:00 AM EST
Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates winning match point during his singles semi final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day seven of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena on November 21, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


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.

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The former Chilean player and two-time Olympic gold medalist has coached Thiem to three Grand Slam finals and his eventual Major championship win at the US Open this year.

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.

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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.”

“We respect each other”: Massu on Dominic Thiem

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 says he is still obsessed with tennis

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.”

It wasn’t long after Massu took over as coach that Thiem found success. On the Chilean’s watch, the Austrian won the prestigious Indian Wells Masters in 2019, beating Roger Federer.

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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.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1012 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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