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Nicolás Massú

Nicolás Alejandro Massú Fried (born October 10 1979, in Viña del Mar, Chile), nicknamed Vampiro (Spanish: "vampire"), is a Chilean tennis player, a former world number nine in singles and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Tennis career

Early years

Massú was introduced to tennis at age five by his Hungarian grandfather, Ladislao Fried. From age 12, he was trained at the Valle Dorado tennis academy, near Villa Alemana, by Leonardo Zuleta, with whom he perfected his forehand and double-handed backhand. He later trained at the Nick Bollettieri academy, in Florida, United States, alongside Marcelo Ríos, and later at the High Performance Center in Barcelona, Spain.

Juniors

Massú became a professional tennis player in 1997. That year he won the prestigious juniors year-end Orange Bowl tournament. He also claimed the boys doubles competitions at Wimbledon (with Peru's Luis Horna) and the US Open (with countryman Fernando González), and was junior doubles world champion.

ATP Tour

In August 1998, Massú won his first future tournament, in Spain. The following month he claimed his first challenger event, in Ecuador. He won his second challenger tournament in June 1999, in Italy. In September 1999, he successfully defended his title in Ecuador. In November 1999, he won the Santiago challenger event, and cracked the top 100 in singles for the first time.

In May 2000, Massú reached his first ATP tournament final, at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Orlando, Florida, where he lost to Fernando González. Later in August, he lost again to another Chilean—Marcelo Ríos—on his US Open debut. In January 2001, Massú reached his second ATP event final, in Adelaide, Australia.

Massú's first ATP title came in February 2002 in Buenos Aires, where he defeated Argentine Agustín Calleri in a three-set final, after being down match point. At the 2003 event, Calleri took revenge and defeated him in the first round, a loss that pushed Massú out of the top 100 in singles and forced him to play challengers once again. In April 2003, he reached the Bermuda challenger final.

Massú claimed his second ATP title in July 2003 in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. The following week he reached the final of the Kitzbuhel, Austria tournament, cracking the top 50 in singles for the first time. In September he made three consecutive tournament finals, including a win at a challenger event and his third ATP title at Palermo, Italy. In October, he reached the final at the Madrid Tennis Masters Series tournament, losing to Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final. He ended the year at number 12.

In mid-2004, Massú parted ways with Argentinian coach Gabriel Markus, whom he replaced with Chilean Patricio Rodríguez. In July 2004 Massú won his fourth ATP title in Kitzbuhel, and then went on to win two gold medals at the Athens Olympics in August (see below). Thanks to his outstanding performance at the Olympics, he reached his best ATP Singles Ranking to date, at number 9. In November he underwent groin surgery, and therefore entered the 2005 season off top form. He ended an unremarkable 2005 with a six-match losing streak.

In January 2006, Massú lost his hometown event at Viña del Mar to José Acasuso in the final. In February he won his sixth ATP event at Costa do Sauipe, Brazil. In April he reached the final of the Casablanca event in Morocco. In July he lost to Novak Đoković in the final of the Amersfoort tournament.

In January 2007, Massú repeated his Viña del Mar showing of 2006, losing to Luis Horna in straight sets. In July he began an eight-match losing streak, ended in October in Saint Petersburg.

Massú had an early exit at the Viña del Mar tournament in January, 2008, losing to Sergio Roitman in the first round. Because he defended points from a final showing in 2007, the following week he fell to number 97 in the world.

Olympics

Massú has represented Chile in three Summer Olympics: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. At the 2000 event's opening ceremony, he was his country's standard bearer, after Marcelo Ríos failed to show up. On his first-round match he beat Slava Dosedel, but lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the next round.

In Athens, Massú captured both singles and doubles titles. On August 21, he and partner Fernando González, defeated Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schüttler of Germany to win the doubles competition, making history by giving Chile its first-ever Olympic gold medal. The following day, he captured his second gold medal by defeating American Mardy Fish in five sets in the men's singles final. Following his victory in singles he was declared as Athlete of the Day by the 2004 Athens Olympics' organization.

Because of his low ranking, Massú was granted a wild card to compete in both singles and doubles events in Beijing. He only managed to reach the second round in singles and was ousted on his first match in doubles, where he partnered with Fernando González.

Davis Cup

Massú began playing for Chile in Davis Cup matches in 1996. He currently is 26-14, including 14-3 on clay.

Maccabiah Games

Massú is a veteran of the 2001 Maccabiah Games, the international Jewish Olympics.

Playing style

Massú has a style characteristic of a clay court specialist, with strong baseline play characterized by a solid forehand and backhand.

Massú is known for his fighting spirit, especially when playing for Chile, as he has demonstrated at the 2004 Olympics and at numerous Davis Cup matches. He has also turned around difficult matches.

Personal life

Massú was born in Viña del Mar, Chile. He is Jewish, as is his mother, Sonia Fried. His father, Manuel Massú, is of Lebanese ancestry. He has two brothers, Stefano and Jorge.

All finals

Legend
Grand Slam (0)
WTA Championships (0)
ATP Masters Series (0)
Olympic Gold (1)
ATP Tour (5)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1)
Clay (5)
Grass (0)
Carpet (0)

Singles titles

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 24 February 2002 Buenos Aires, Argentina Clay Agustín Calleri 2–6, 7–6(5), 6–2
2. 20 July 2003 Amersfoort, Netherlands Clay Raemon Sluiter 6–4, 7–6(3), 6–2
3. 28 September 2003 Palermo, Italy Clay Paul-Henri Mathieu 1–6, 6–2, 7–6(0)
4. 25 July 2004 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay Gastón Gaudio 7–6(3), 6–4
5. 22 August 2004 Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Hard Mardy Fish 6–3, 3–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4
6. 26 February 2006 Costa do Sauípe, Brazil Clay Alberto Martín 6–3, 6–4

Singles runners-up

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. May 7 2000 Orlando, U.S. Clay Fernando González 2–6, 3–6
2. January 7 2001 Adelaide, Australia Hard Tommy Haas 3–6, 1–6
3. July 27 2003 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay Guillermo Coria 1–6, 4–6, 2–6
4. September 14 2003 Bucharest, Romania Clay David Sánchez 2–6, 2–6
5. October 19 2003 Madrid, Spain Hard (i) Juan Carlos Ferrero 3–6, 4–6, 3–6
6. February 5 2006 Viña del Mar, Chile Clay José Acasuso 4–6, 3–6
7. April 30 2006 Casablanca, Morocco Clay Daniele Bracciali 1–6, 4–6
8. July 23 2006 Amersfoort, Netherlands Clay Novak Đoković 6–7(5), 4–6
9. February 4 2007 Viña del Mar, Chile Clay Luis Horna 5–7, 3–6

Doubles titles

No. Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponents in the final Score
1. August 21 2004 Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Hard Fernando González Nicolas Kiefer
Rainer Schüttler
6–2, 4–6, 3–6, 7–6(7), 6–4

Team competition wins

Challenger singles titles

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. September 7 1998 Quito, Ecuador Clay Mariano Sánchez 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
2. June 21 1999 Biella, Italy Clay Oleg Ogorodov 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3
3. September 6 1999 Quito, Ecuador Clay Luis Adrián Morejón 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
4. November 1 1999 Santiago, Chile Clay Karim Alami 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4
5. September 15 2003 Szczecin, Poland Clay Albert Portas 6-4, 6-3
6. May 5 2008 Rijeka, Croatia Clay Christophe Rochus 6-2, 6-2

Challenger singles runners-up

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. November 22 1999 Guadalajara, Mexico Clay Francisco Costa 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
2. April 14 2003 Bermuda Clay Flavio Saretta 6-1, 6-4
3. August 3 2008 Belo Horizonte, Brazil Hard Santiago González 6-4, 6-3

External links

References

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