#Santiago2023Ambassadors: Nicolás Massú, history, dedication, and Chilean tennis legacy

The winner of two gold medals at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and currently the captain of the Copa Davis Chilean team tell us the reasons and motivations to join us as Ambassador of the Games.

For many Chileans, Nicolás Massú is a synonym for passion, dedication, and perseverance.

From Viña del Mar and with an important influence and familiar support in his sport career, “Nico” carved out his career in the Valle Dorado courts, Villa Alemana, along with one of the most important coaches of his career, Leonardo Zuleta. From a very early age, at six years, the athlete used to train with his grandfather Ladislao in the Club de Tenis Unión.

The double Olympic medalist had an impeccable career that lasted 17 years in professional tennis, he participated in 3 Olympic Games and the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American and Parapan American Games.

What does it mean to you to be a Santiago 2023 Ambassador?
It’s important. It’s amazing that such a great event will be held in Chile. I had the chance to be part of the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games and in various Olympic Games and it was fantastic. That Chile now has the chance to organize it is extraordinary, this event will be seen around the world and athletes will have the possibility of competing in our country. 

How do you describe the sensation of having won an Olympic medal?
It has been one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Not just winning two gold medals, but also bearing our flag during Sidney 2000 was a dream. To be part of three Olympic Games was also a dream and, of course, after that, the Pan American Games are the most important that exist in sports. That’s why I decided to play during Guadalajara 2011, after the three Olympic Games I wanted to know the sensation of being part of the Pan American Games, and it was incredible.

How is dealing with the pressure of being in an event like this one?
Pressure is part of athletes; the truth is that we live triumphs and defeats so we must adapt to mood changes and pressure quickly, which is part of my life until today that I’m a coach, and the truth is that I like it. I do like having pressure, it’s a nice sensation controlling those moments and the competition.

Do you consider that being an Olympic medalist gives you extra responsibility at a national level?
I always tried to give the best of me and show that Chileans can be the best, that’s actually something possible. Of course, over the years the new generations are also seeing that things are possible with my example.


“Nico” keeps straight with his passion for tennis. From 10 years of his retirement, he lives with enthusiasm and responsibility his life as coach and captain of the Copa Davis team, qualifying to the final phase of the tournament along with his team conformed by Cristian Garín, Nicolás Jarry, Tomás Barrios, Alejandro Tabilo and Gonzalo Lama. The Chilean team will be one of the sixteenth participant countries in the group phase that will be carried out between September 12th and 17th, in Malaga, Spain.

How do you see the atmosphere of the players within the Copa Davis team?
Very happy, we already qualified for the Worldwide Group, for the second time during the last four years. Being part of the 16th best teams of the world it’s difficult and we are the only country from Latin America that is there, so I believe it’s something special and great. It’s relevant to enjoy these moments, I hope we have many years in front of us because we have a great team that’s still young and has a lot of enthusiasm.

You took this team when players were very young, what does characterize you as a team and as individual players?
They were really young and so was I. I had just retired a month ago, at 33 years old and I think I was one of the youngest coaches in the world to be captain of the Copa Davis. We all grew up together, hand in hand, in fact, some of them were my partners on the same team, that’s why being partners and then turning to captain was a nice experience.

There is a lot of affinity, we know what it means to represent Chile, we have achieved the results thanks to our work that it’s not only mine but a teamwork. 

Do you consider that your personality had an important role in the achievements of your career?
I think that each person has their own story, we are all different and have different personalities. In my case, since I was a child I’ve been trying to seek the best version of myself, improving daily, giving my 100%, and trying to sleep at night knowing that I gave the best of me.

Currently, I do this from the other side, as a coach, but I’ve been doing this since I was a player. I like winning, competing, getting up during the morning with courage, and representing my country. I also do this for all those people that have helped me, for my family’s efforts and the sacrifices that I’ve made since I was a child.

Where do you think your sporting pride was born?
I’ve been close to tennis since I was 5 years old. I started training many years ago. I also liked football and switched to other sports but the truth is that at 11 years old I felt closer to this one and I began traveling around the world. I started having success, thanks to my grandad who put me in tennis classes and I found out it was the discipline that I liked. I used to think daily about playing it and then, at 12 years old, it turned into the profession that I currently have.


Having played in three Olympic Games, some Pan American Games, and, also, diverse prestigious worldwide tournaments in the tennis ATP circuit, Nicolás Massú can transmit and give faith about the importance of volunteers in the development of this kind of competitions.

How has your experience with volunteers been during events of the magnitude of Santiago 2023?
Always great sensations, volunteers have always helped to ensure everything goes spectacular. Whatever you need they are there and try to give you a hand, so they achieve an essential role.

What would you say to those people who are thinking about being Volunteers? 
Well, if you like sports and want to live a unique experience, I invite you to sign up for the Volunteering Program, it will be an awesome experience.


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