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Dominic Thiem is not 18, Rafael Nadal has Francisco Roig: Paul Annacone on absence of Massu & Moya at Australian Open

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem at the 2020 Australian Open
Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem at the 2020 Australian Open
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Modified 14 Jan 2021, 19:03 IST
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Paul Annacone recently gave his thoughts about Nicolas Massu and Carlos Moya not traveling with their respective wards Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal for the Australian hardcourt swing. Annacone claimed Thiem is experienced enough to deal with Massu's absence, while also pointing out that Nadal will continue to have the services of long-time coach Francisco Roig.

Having recently tested positive for COVID-19, Nicolas Massu will not be in Dominic Thiem's team for the time being. Carlos Moya, on the other hand, has voluntarily opted to stay at home with his family rather than travel with Rafael Nadal.

The 57-year-old Paul Annacone boasts of some spectacular coaching history, having trained both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer - two of the game's foremost proponents. In a recent conversation with Tennis Channel, Annacone acknowledged Massu’s role in Dominic Thiem’s development, but asserted that Thiem’s father Wolfgang is more than capable of taking over the reigns.

“Yeah and these guys (Dominic Thiem and Nicolas Massu) have done such great work together,” Annacone said. “I mean Nicolas Massu was a catalyst to a big step into the next level for Dominic Thiem. But with his dad, his dad knows his game so well, he’s a very good coach himself. Thiem’s not 18 years old anymore so he’ll be just fine.” 

Carlos Moya not accompanying Rafael Nadal doesn't worry Paul Annacone too much either; the American pointed out that Moya was absent from Nadal's team last year too. For Annacone, it is not unusual if one of the two main coaches stays away at times - like he and Severin Luthi used to while in charge of Roger Federer.

“Not much (on what he makes of this) I mean did Carlos go last year? (No),” Annacone continued. “So yeah I think that’s why he has Francisco Roig with him for such a long time. Sometimes both coaches go, other times not. Severin and I did that a number of times when I was with Roger so it is what it is.”

Athletes like Rafael Nadal & Dominic Thiem light up like a Christmas tree when playing team events: Paul Annacone

Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal
Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal

Turning his attention to the ATP Cup, Paul Annacone claimed that the event will be a ‘tremendous’ one given the strength of the field.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem are all taking part in the event this year. They will be joined by the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic in what is a star-studded player list.

The American reckons that players such as Djokovic, Nadal and Thiem, who are almost always playing individually, relish the chance of taking part in a team event like the ATP Cup.

“If you look at the teams and the players that represent these teams, it is going to be a tremendous competition,” Annacone said. “Look, these individual athletes do not get to play in a team environment very often and when they do they are lit up like a Christmas tree, they love it. It is a tremendous event and I’m really interested to see how they all unfold in terms of the draw and who plays who. It’s going to be a great week of tennis.”
Published 14 Jan 2021, 19:03 IST
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