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Dominic Thiem's coach Nicolas Massu tests positive for COVID-19, likely to miss Australian Open

Nico Massu watching Dominic Thiem at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Nico Massu watching Dominic Thiem at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 14 Jan 2021, 01:54 IST
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Dominic Thiem has achieved a lot of success ever since he has hired former player Nicolas Massu as his coach. However, Thiem will likely not be able to avail Massu's services at the upcoming Australian Open, as the Chilean has tested positive for COVID-19.

Following a breakthrough 2020 season, Dominic Thiem would have been hoping to kick off his 2021 campaign with his support team in close proximity. But with Nicolas Massu contracting the virus, Thiem's preparations for the Australian hardcourt swing have taken a massive hit.

In the absence of Massu, Dominic Thiem's father Wolfgang will travel to Australia as his temporary coach.Β 

Wolfgang has confirmed the reports about Massu, and also expressed hope that the Chilean can join the Thiem contingent in Australia as and when he tests negative. But that's easier said than done given the strict COVID-19 restrictions that are in place in Melbourne.

"He will do another test in a few days. As soon as he is negative, he will follow," said Wolfgang Thiem. "The first two weeks in Australia we will probably have to do without Nico. During this time I will train with Dominic and Dennis."

Dominic Thiem will be eyeing a similar Australian Open campaign to that of 2020, during which he defeated Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils and Alexander Zverev on his way to the final. He was eventually defeated by Novak Djokovic in an epic five-setter.

Massu's absence could seriously affect Thiem's chances 'Down Under', given his galvanizing impact on the 27-year-old's play since joining him in early 2019.

Dominic Thiem to join Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic for controversial exhibition in Adelaide

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(From L to R) Serena Williams, Dominic Thiem, Petra Kvitova, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal
(From L to R) Serena Williams, Dominic Thiem, Petra Kvitova, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Dominic Thiem has already left for Australia, and upon landing he will begin quarantining in Adelaide. After the completion of his isolation period, Thiem will play in a star-studded exhibition tournament.

The event is set to feature Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep alongside Dominic Thiem. The top-ranked men's and women's players - together with their respective hitting partners - have been given special quarantine arrangements in Adelaide, away from the rest of the field in Melbourne.

The move has drawn heat and criticism from several members of the tennis community, who have taken issue with the apparent bias shown towards the big stars. But Tennis Australia has maintained that the conditions in Adelaide and Melbourne would be identical, with the restrictions and regulations being dubbed as the 'strictest in the world'.

Published 14 Jan 2021, 01:54 IST
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