"People here love me a lot" - Dominic Thiem relishes crowd support at Chile Open with coach Nicolas Massu by his side

Nicolas Massu has been Dominic Thiem
Nicolas Massu has been Dominic Thiem's coach for almost four years now.

Dominic Thiem feels that his working relationship with coach Nicolas Massu has earned him many fans in Chile and is hoping to experience support from the crowd in his 2023 Chile Open opener against local star Cristian Garin. Thiem also reflected on his association with the Chilean coach so far.

The Austrian tennis superstar faces World No. 100 Garin in the Round of 32 on Tuesday as he aims to snap his poor run of late on the claycourts of Santiago this week. Playing in Massu's home event, Thiem hopes that fans will show him some love, while also recognizing that Garin will have the majority of the crowd support.

Regardless of whether he gets more or less support, Thiem is honored to be a fan favrorite in Chile.

"It is very cute. The people here love me a lot because of my relationship with Nico, which is a great honor," Dominic Thiem told Septimo Game ahead of the tournament.
"I would like not to have faced a Chilean, so I could have had the public supporting me. But it is what it is, I enjoy playing here, the people are fond of me, and hopefully we can have a great atmosphere in our match on Tuesday," he added.

Massu has been by Thiem's side as his coach through the Austrian's biggest ups and downs since first joining his team back in 2019. They tasted success in their first tournament together as Thiem won the 2019 Indian Wells Masters, before going on to win four more titles that season.

A year later, the Austrian won his maiden Grand Slam title at the 2020 US Open. Then came the lows as he suffered a serious wrist injury in mid-2021.

As the 29-year-old continues to find his way back to the top, he thanked Massu for sticking by him during the challenging period and believes the Chilean coach is the man to help him get back to the top.

"We have had a great relationship in these four years," Dominic Thiem expressed. "We started in the best way in Indian Wells, our first year was spectacular. In the second came the US Open title, and then came some very challenging times, with my wrist injury and what it took for us to get good results.
"But we've stuck together all this time, and together we're going to work hard to get better and get those results we need," he added.

Dominic Thiem has suffered a disappointing start to his 2023 season

Dominic Thiem in action at 2023 Australian Open
Dominic Thiem in action at 2023 Australian Open

After a strong end to his 2022 season, Dominic Thiem is going through another slump in form this season, having lost six of his seven matches so far in 2023. Thiem's year started with first-round losses at Adelaide 1 (loss to Soonwoo Kwon) and the Australian Open, where he was ousted by 6th seed Andrey Rublev. The former World No. 3 then lost both his singles matches in Austria's Davis Cup tie against Crotia.

He then snapped a four-match losing streak with a win over Alex Molcan at the Argentina Open, before bowing out of the tournament with a Round of 16 loss against Juan Pablo Varillas. Last week, Thiem lost a thrilling three-set first-round clash against Thiago Monteiro at the Rio Open.

Thiem is currently ranked just inside the Top-100 at No. 99.