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Dominic Thiem punches air at Australian open 2020

“I think it was necessary to make a change” Dominic Thiem and the decision that may have changed his life forever


Twelve months after he started working with Nicolas Massu, Dominic Thiem is looking to build on the progress he has made in the last year.

 

The first tournament where Dominic Thiem and Massu worked together was the 2019 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, where the 26-year-old Austrian won the first Masters 1000 title of his career.

“There is a great chemistry between us,” Thiem said of his relationship with Massu. “He is a great guy, a very good character. I’m happy to be with him and I’m looking forward to good times ahead.”

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Dominic Thiem appointed Massu to replace Gunter Bresnik, who had been coaching him since he was a boy. Although Thiem had broken into the world’s top 10 and played in his first Grand Slam final at the 2018 French Open, the world No 3 believes the time was right last spring to take a new path in his career.

“I tried it out with Nico and the first tournament we had together was Indian Wells, so straight away it was a good decision,” Thiem said. “Then I realised more and more that he was bringing very good stuff to my game and was able to develop my game in the right direction.”

Nevertheless, the split with Bresnik was a tough decision for Thiem. “I think it was necessary to make a change,” he said. “I had unbelievable success and an unbelievable road with my old coach, but there came a time when I thought I needed something new. I needed to develop my personality and develop my game on-court.”

Massu, a former world No 9, won all five of his tour titles on clay but the biggest victory of the Chilean’s career was on hard courts in Athens, when he won Olympic gold in 2004 in both singles and doubles, the latter alongside Fernando Gonzalez.

Under Massu’s guidance Thiem reached a second successive French Open final last summer, only to lose to Rafael Nadal for the second year in a row. However, it has been on hard courts where the Austrian has made the most significant progress in the last 12 months.

Thiem won two ATP 500 tournaments in the autumn on hard courts in Beijing and Vienna. At the start of this year he reached his first Grand Slam final away from Roland Garros before losing to Novak Djokovic in five sets at the Australian Open.

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Dominic Thiem punches air at Australian open 2020
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