Dominic Thiem Reveals Limitations Occurring Due to Coach Nicolas Massu’s Absence at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/08/2021, 6:00 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem celebrates winning his first round match against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin REUTERS/Kelly Defina


World Number 3 Dominic Thiem opened up on pairing with coach Nicolas Massu after launching his Australian Open campaign with a tricky opening-round win over Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Austrian had to fight off a determined Kukushkin in the opening set tie-breaker at the Rod Laver Arena on Monday before finding his range in the next two sets to come away a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 winner.

Speaking courtside after the match, Thiem touched on his association with the former Chilean star Massu which saw him reach two Grand Slam finals before finally breaking the jinx with his maiden title at the US Open last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Thiem is missing coach Massu at the Australian Open

The Austrian said that though Massu didn’t travel with him to the Australian Open, they have been staying in touch over the phone, discussing strategies and game plans.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his first round match against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin REUTERS/Loren Elliott

“Obviously, I miss him a lot. He couldn’t make it here but from the next tournament on, he will be back (with him),” Thiem said.

Thiem says while he misses his coach watching him from close quarters, he has been doing a lot of “face-time” with him on the phone to ensure that they touch base on the game every day.

Dominic Thiem says coach Nicolas Massu knows his “opponents very well”

The Austrian added that working with Massu also helps him devise his game plans against rivals as the Chilean “knows the opponents very well and always gives me amazing preparation for the matches”.

He said though the coach and pupil and currently working over a “long-distance”, it seemed to be going well.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Thiem added that while Massu couldn’t make it, he has a “super cool team” in his family members, who were out in the stands, cheering him on during his opening-round win.

Though he launched his season with a defeat to rising Italian star Matteo Berrettini in his ATP Cup opener, Thiem showed his characteristic flair and looked to be getting on top of his game at the lung-opener at Melbourne Park on Monday.

The losing finalist last year, Thiem would be determined to go one better at the Australian Open this time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Priyabrata Chowdhury

1010 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT