Former McEnroe Mentor Blasts Nicolas Massu’s Collaboration With Thiem - UBITENNIS
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Former McEnroe Mentor Blasts Nicolas Massu’s Collaboration With Thiem

Larry Stefanki has also slammed current players Grigor Dimitrov and Eugenie Bouchard.

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Nicolas Massu all'angolo di Dominic Thiem - Indian Wells 2019 (foto @Sport Vision, Chryslène Caillaud)

The man responsible for overseeing two players rise to world No.1 during the late 1990s has launched an attack on Dominic Thiem’s new coach.

 

Larry Stefanki, who has worked alongside a series of top players on the men’s tour, has said that Nicolas Massu is a ‘cheerleader’ and does not class him as a coach. Massu joined Thiem’s team earlier this year during the North American hard court swing. During their time together, the Austrian has won his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells, as well as the Barcelona Open.

“The coach is not just a good cheerleader, but he sees the basics of the game, the movement of the legs, the physical theme, what is needed to get to the top. I do not call Nicolas Massu a coach.” Stefani reportedly said earlier this week.

Continuing with his criticism, the American said that Massu should not receive any recognition if Thiem tops the world rankings. The 25-year-old is currently at a ranking best of fourth in the world. So far in his career, Thiem has won 13 ATP titles and reached his first grand slam final at the French Open last year.

“Maybe Dominic is going to be the next number one and I think he will be … but do not say it was because of the coach because he does not have that experience,” he stated.

Stefanki guided both Marcelo Rios and Yevgeny Kafelnikov to the world No.1 place on the men’s tour. His resume also includes stints working with John McEnroe, Tim Henman, Andy Roddick and Fernando Gonzalez.

Besides attacking Massu’s coaching abilities, he has also criticised his career as a player. The Chilean is a former top 10 player best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. He is also a former French Open semi-finalist and won six ATP trophies before retiring in 2013.

“If he looks at his history, he indicates that he could have been a much better player if he had learned to hit the backhand well.”

Dimitrov, Bouchard also slammed

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Massu wasn’t the only person to fall victim to unflattering comments from the 61-year-old. He has also accused Grigor Dimitrov and Eugenie Bouchard of both caring more about their appearance than playing tennis. Both are former top 10 players, but neither have won a grand slam. Dimitrov’s biggest achievement yet was winning the 2017 ATP Finals. Meanwhile, Bouchard was a Wimbledon finalist back in 2014.

“Grigor Dimitrov wanted to train with me, but I did not see him with the willingness to work that was required. He was more concerned to look like Federer. Much worse was the case of Eugenie Bouchard, who preferred the photo sessions to trainING. Number 5 in the world, then, a player can not prefer to pose in a bikini to hit the ball, you’re a tennis player or a model, you can not do both.” He said.

When asked to compare McEnroe with Rios, Stefanki ranks his fellow American as the better player of the two. They were childhood friends before Stefanki became McEnroe’s coach on the tour.

“Both have an incredible talent, but I put McEnroe over Rios for the number of tournaments he won and the time he remained as number one. McEnroe played with admirable ease, like Rios, but he stayed in the elite for much longer, McEnroe was a special guy, but he loved tennis, Rios was more unpredictable, although he was a very intelligent guy,” he concluded.

Stefanki achieved a ranking high of 35th on the ATP Tour in 1985.

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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Dominic Thiem Follows Nadal In Olympic Games Snub

The world No.5 says his decision is related to his performance on the Tour so far this season.

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Dominic Thiem training at the 2021 Lyon Open (photographer Sammy Dancyger - Owned by Sport Plus Conseil - GM Sports Consulting)

Austria’s Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the Olympic Games in order to focus on his title defence at the US Open later this year.

 

The 27-year-old issued a statement on Thursday saying he was ‘not ready’ to play in Tokyo following what has been a roller-coaster start to the season. Thiem enters Wimbledon with a win-loss record of 9-8 and recently lost in the first round of the French Open. His best results so far this year were reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old Austrian wrote on Twitter.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher.
“However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.
“My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”

Thiem, who also skipped the 2016 Olympics, had previously said that his views on the multi-sport event have changed over recent time. During one interview with Tennis Deutschland he said it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Olympics and he would ‘definitely play’ at the event if he had the chance to. Thiem is coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu who won a gold medal back in 2004.

The world No.5 says he hopes to be able to play at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris where the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. The same venue as the French Open.

On the same day as Thiem’s announcement on Thursday, Rafael Nadal was another player to confirm he would not be travelling to Tokyo, as well as Wimbledon, in order to recover from the clay season. The Spaniard said he wants to take a break from the Tour in order to preserve his body and prolong his career on the Tour.

The Olympic tennis event will take place between July 24th – August 1st. Andy Murray is the defending champion in the men’s tournament.

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Sebastian Korda sets up quarter final clash against Ugo Humbert in Halle

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Sebastian Korda came back from one set down to beat Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-3 7-5 at the NOVENTI Open in Halle setting up a quarter final match against Ugo Humbert, who upset Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 in 1 hour and 53 minutes 

 

Both players went on serve with no breaks of serve. Zverev won 84% of his first serve points. Humbert won the first set tie-break when Zverev netted a forehand. 

Zverev converted his first break point at the start of the second set to take a 2-0 lead, when Humbert sent his backhand long. Zverev held on his next service games to claim the second set 6-3. Humbert earned the break in the fourth game of the third set to close out the third set 6-3. 

“I don’t particularly know what I could have done differently. Ugo was serving incredibly well in the first set. We both barely won points on each other’s serve. Then in the third set, I think he found his rhythm from the baseline. He was outplaying me. It is not a great result for me, but I don’t know what I could have done differently”, said Zverev. 

Korda reached the first ATP Tour final of his first career at Delray Beach, the quarter final in Miami and won his firts ATP Tour title on clay at the Emilia Romagna Open in Parma. 

Nishikori broke twice in the first set to open up a 4-1 lead. The Japanese player won 67% of his second serve points and saved two break points in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-2 in 31 minutes. Korda broke serve in the sixth game after seven deuces and held serve in another hard-fought game to race out to a 5-2 lead. The US player served out the second set 6-3 to force the match to the third set. 

Nishikori saved three break points in a nine-minute first game. The decider went on serve until the 11th game, when Korda broke Nishikori with a lob. Korda fended off a break point as he served out the match at deuce in the 12th game. “I would say it was good level from both of us. I think I played almost too good in the first set. He then started making more balls and changed his position. He started playing better in the second set.I think the third set could go both ways. I had many chances, but he played good points and he deserved to win as he took risks”, said Korda. 

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