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September 13, 2020

Nicolas Massu

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Now that Domi is a US Open champion, he said that he will feel more relaxed going into the French Open. What will you have to do to help him transition.

NICOLAS MASSU: Yeah, first of all, we need to enjoy the moment now. We just finish here in New York. Today the match was, like, really tough, like a drama, like a movie until the end.

But I think that, yeah, any one of these two guys could win the match. Was really emotional. Now we need to try to enjoy this moment.

Tomorrow we are going to Europe in the afternoon. For sure, Dominic needs to rest, to recover, then we start to practice again on clay, to prepare the clay season. I mean, is not too long this year, but I think that now the important thing is to recover his body, then for sure maybe at the end of this week we can start to hit some balls on clay and try to recover his body, try to looking forward for the French Open.

Q. Where are you going now?

NICOLAS MASSU: No, we are going tomorrow to Vienna. We are going to Vienna. We stay here in the bubble for one month, so he needs to recover mentally, physically, to arrive with a lot of motivation for sure. Because of the COVID this year, all the tournaments are every week so you don't have like a chance to recover.

For example, now he pull out from Roma because tomorrow start Roma, the draw. Is no chance to travel, to pass to clay, the jetlag, the flight. He needs to recover. The most important thing now to be smart with the calendar because this a different year, it's not a normal year.

I mean, when you can arrange all the tournaments with calm and everything, but I think now after he wins here, of course we need to recover him, like I said before, mentally, physically.

For sure he loves to play in Paris. He play amazing there. So we going to try to arrive 100%. But like I said before, we need to be smart now to arrange all the points to make him feel motivated again the first day of French Open.

Q. What was going through your mind when he lost the first two sets?

NICOLAS MASSU: No, well, sports is so nice because of this. You never know until the last ball when the match is over. It happens to me in my career. I learn like that. When I was a player, I won few tournaments, since I was a junior, fighting until the end.

Then I have the experience that my family told me that, and I expect that, that you never know when sometimes you are winning a match, then you lose the match. Sometimes like today he was losing two sets to zero, the match was going only in the way of Sascha. Sascha was playing much better than Dominic at the beginning.

But you always have a chance. When you are playing five sets, the match is longer, so you have more time to react. I think after he break the serve of Sascha in the third set, I think the mind of Dominic and the game of Dominic start to be a little bit better, and Sascha give some opportunities maybe in the third set.

Then when he won the third set, of course the match, you start to feel that it's more closer, you start to feel something different. I didn't spoke with him like so long because we are here. For sure we going to analyze the match completely.

But like I said before, is really important to be focused all the time because in a final of a Grand Slam, or in a first round of any tournament, you always need to believe that you can do it. This is the mentality you have to need all the time.

Sometimes is difficult because when you're losing, when you're not feeling well, when the opponent is playing much better than you, many things. But at the end, you need to be positive and try to fight every ball because you never know. That is why the sport is so nice. You never know what is going to happen until the last point.

Q. You mentioned going to Roland Garros. The last two years he reached the finals, four times losing to Rafa at the French Open, what does he have to do differently this year? Does Rafa have a tremendous advantage because he didn't play in New York?

NICOLAS MASSU: Yeah, but first of all I think many things change, many people expect so many different things. For example, when I start to work with Dominic, many people said that his first Grand Slam is going to be French Open because he arrived to one final, he play better there, all these kind of situations.

But before I start to work with him, when I saw him like a spectator, I said, He can play everywhere, not only on clay, he can have the same results in every surface because the game, the shots, he's talented, he has everything. Maybe he need to adjust small things.

I think the tournament he won in Indian Wells in 2019 gave him a lot of confidence also. But now, of course, when you win a Grand Slam, also you need a lot of factors. Last year, for example, Dominic played the final against Rafa. He won 12 times French Open. He have like unbelievable tennis, he's so intense. If you put the last days before the finals, Dominic plays against Khachanov, then two days in a row with Djokovic, he arrived to the final playing three or four days in a row, maybe one day he rest. After he won the second set, Rafa continue with the same intensity, the same intensity every ball. Dominic start to lost the energy a little bit. Rafa make the difference.

Okay, now I think this will help a lot to Dominic to be more calm because they talk a lot about not only in the tennis world, in everywhere else, the new generation, the new guys, you know? Dominic is still very young. He just turned 27. Today he won the first US Open, first Grand Slam. Now for him is going to be more calm to play in the next Grand Slam.

I think he for sure maybe this year or whatever, he will have a chance to win French Open. But now I think we have to go step by step. We won here. When we arrive to Paris, when we start to practice, we have to think about French Open.

Q. From a mental perspective, sometimes when someone has such a big breakthrough, it's not easy to mentally recover quickly. Sometimes the pressure of expectations rises. For you, are you worried that might happen? What do you plan on doing to make sure that doesn't happen?

NICOLAS MASSU: No, I prefer to be in this situation after he wins the tournament, so it's a good problem (smiling). It's a nice problem that you need to recover from these kind of things when you won a Grand Slam and is the first time in your career.

Tennis is like this. For sure it will be more difficult if he lose this match. If he lose this match, he serve for the match or he have chances, then you have to travel tomorrow to Europe, recover, play on clay, whatever.

Of course is totally different now that he won this match because he's happy. He won his first Grand Slam. For sure the emotions are going to be really tough and strong. He goes home tomorrow for few days. For sure in Austria he going to have, like, many things to do. We have to manage all these kind of situations so when he starts to practice on clay, he needs to be totally recovered mentally and physically, like I said before.

I prefer to have this problem. You have to think one point: this year is totally different. In the history of tennis, we never have COVID, this virus. He need to adapt to circumstances. We going to try to do our best. You cannot win all the tournaments, arrive to all the tournaments playing great.

What you can expect is to put everything on court. Maybe today Dominic, last week when he play in Cincinnati, like two weeks ago he didn't play his best tennis, he didn't play like solid match. He lost 6-2, 6-1. He didn't play well. We continue here practicing. We try to change the switch to focus on the Grand Slam.

After he lost in Cincinnati, now he won this tournament. This is something you need to understand. You have to try always to make your best effort. That's it. Sometimes you play well. Sometimes not. Sometimes you feel confident. You never know.

The most important thing is your mind to be focused on what you want. Now he wants to play in Paris. Okay, let's try to do our best and let's see what's going on.

Q. Four weeks in the bubble. Can you describe how that was? Would you say it maybe was one of the most difficult Grand Slams ever to be a winner at?

NICOLAS MASSU: Yeah, we have a press conference in Austria before we travel here with Dominic. You guys ask me, when is the first time Dominic wins a Grand Slam? I said to you guys, One day, I hope soon. Let's see what happen.

Here we are one month later, is amazing feeling. Is crazy.

Yeah, I think, you know, is totally different, but maybe most of the people that have quarantine and they have to stay in March, April, May in quarantine, for me, in my experience that I stay home in Santiago for three months without going out to the street, then one month in Miami, but you get used to be with it, with the mask, used to be in the hotel, used to be in the club.

You come here to work. You have to be very grateful for the people. That's why I said the USTA, the ATP, the ITF, everyone, the volunteers, they make unbelievable job because was so difficult. Maybe if you ask me one month and a half, someone, Do you think US Open is going to happen or not? Nobody was sure because was so difficult.

They make amazing job. Now we are here, I think all the players put the best, all the people. So, yeah, was difficult in one moment, but we don't try to think so much about that we are in a bubble, that we need to return to the hotel.

For sure we want a normal life. But we are like in a bubble. Many people now have problems. Some people lost the jobs. Some people have family with COVID and everything. You need to be grateful to be here, just to be here, and more if you win. It's crazy.

Q. During this match, you know Dominic very well, did he astonish you? At one point did you think that this was unbelievable, what he's doing?

NICOLAS MASSU: Well, first of all, at the beginning of the match was two things: Sascha was playing solid, then Dominic was making some errors that normally he don't make. The ball was without the power that he normally put on court.

Also is merit of Sascha because Sascha serve unbelievable all the time. He didn't give a chance. He was solid. He was playing his first Grand Slam final, and he was looking like so experience inside the court the first two sets.

Really was the two sides. Sascha was playing very good, and Dominic was, like, not under control of the situation. I think at the end of the match was really difficult to said who is going to win the match. At the beginning Dominic break the first game, then he was serving 1-0, 30-15, he make some mistakes, then 1-1.

Then Sascha was going up in the score. At the end, 5-3 serving for the match. Then maybe people thought that Sascha in that moment going to win the tournament.

Then Dominic serve for the match 6-5, maybe all the people change side. Maybe they believe Dominic is going to win. Then in the tiebreak 6-4 for Dominic, he missed two forehands that he normally he made these shots, but he missed. Sometimes is normal. The legs are tired. You are tight. Match point. Four hours of match. The pressure. Many things.

Yeah, is sad that someone have to lose today. This is something that the sport have to be like that. Someone have to win. But, of course, Sascha is a great guy. He's a very good friend of Dominic.

I'm really sad because of the situation because someone have to win. For sure he deserve to be in the future to be the winner, not only for one Grand Slam, but many. He's a real talent. He's really young. I think tennis needs guys like Sascha also.

Q. When Novak got defaulted from the tournament, a lot of eyes went to Dominic. Did you have to handle that situation delicately? Was it difficult for him not to think that Novak was out, his chance was bigger? Did that play a factor on the pressure on him at all?

NICOLAS MASSU: Sometimes when you arrive to the tournament, in some situations you are the favorite, sometimes not. Of course, when you are inside the tennis world, you see the news. You go to the press, you receive the comments. Is normal. You need to be used to these kind of situations. Sometimes you are the favorite and you need to manage all those kind of situations.

For me the difference with the top, top players, with the other ones, is how you can manage all these kind of situations. When you are playing in the important moments better, when you manage all these kind of situations better. That's why these guys, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, play so good in the last 15 years, probably the best in history. Because they're great tennis players is because how they manage these situations for long period.

I think the new generation, of course they have the new times. I think for sure that Dominic in one moment, he feel that maybe he have a chance. When we go to Australia this year or when we went to Paris last year, also when Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, they played the tournament, also we arrive to the tournament believing that he have a chance anyway.

For sure, we arrive here, when you arrive to quarterfinals, semifinals, the way that he play against Medvedev two days ago, for sure, you have a chance. Also in Australia he was two sets to one with Djokovic, almost a break up in the fourth.

Okay, that's why you need to be always awake with the situations, to be confident. Confident but with respect always, to respect all the opponent. Doesn't matter you play with the No. 1 in the world or you play with one guy 1000 in the world. You can lose with anyone, and also you can beat anyone.

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