There are such great feats in history, some so unrepeatable, that they end up forever marking a person. In this case, an athlete. If they ask about Nicolás Massú, for some point in their career, 99% of the respondents will refer to the same photograph: Athens Olympics 2004. There where the Chilean hung the two gold medals, both singles and doubles, with less than 24 hours between one final and the other. In a chat with Tennis Magazin, the former world number 9 recalled every emotion he felt in that week that led him to Olympus of the gods.
– Sydney 2000, first Olympic experience
“It was a good learning experience, especially since I carried the Chilean flag at the opening ceremony. He was 24 years old, at that time he was close to the top ten, a month before he had won the tournament in Kitzbühel. I also had good results in doubles with Fernando González. I always thought that someday I would have a chance to win a medal. ”
– Doubles final with Fernando González
“We were very fighters. The final was not easy, but we had played many hours that week. Fernando played the bronze medal match in singles before the doubles, was on the court for three and a half hours, won 16-14 in the third set and only had a 45 minute break before playing with me. It was vital that Fernando had won the bronze, that helped us a lot mentally. When I saw him in the locker room, he just said, “I’m ready to fight.” We were always a team, from the first to the last point. We have always believed in ourselves, not only in this match, but also in our careers ”.
– Individual final after the doubles
“I was prepared, for this I had been training so many hours throughout my life. I did my best on the court from the first to the last ball. Sometimes you are lucky, but sometimes you are not. Sometimes you expect a lot from a match and then things don’t happen. Sometimes you don’t expect anything and you play amazing. This is tennis and you have to accept. We finished our doubles so late that I could only sleep a few hours, I still had a doping control and I worked with the press. I woke up in the morning and was anything but cool and relaxed. “
– Comeback against Mardy Fish
“The most important thing is that your mind is prepared. I trained many hours for my body to accept that I had to play more hours. I beat strong players on the way to the final and that gave me confidence. It was like a double final. Both finals could have ended differently, I’m still incredibly happy to have won both games. To date, they remain the only gold medals for Chile in an Olympics. When Marcelo Ríos became number one, I thought: ‘Well, he is Chilean, he is 22 years old and he is number one in the world. If he can do that, I can do the same. ’ Qualifying for an Olympics is quite difficult, so winning two gold medals was the best moment in my career and in my life. ”
– A hero in Chile
“Chileans will always remember me. Sometimes I feel like my career is one step behind my Olympic success. First I am an Olympic champion and then comes my additional career. People who are familiar with tennis see me as one of the top ten players, they see good career. I always tell young players that they can achieve great things, you just have to believe that it is possible. I was also eleven years old and watched tennis on television, I had trouble finding sponsors, traveling to tournaments, but that’s part of life. If you fight and stay motivated, it will be worth it someday. If you have the talent, someday you will get there, right where you want to be. That is exactly what I want to convey, I want to be a good example for children ”.
– Value of the two medals
“I have them in a safe place in Chile. I only took it out once, in 2013 when I finished my career. At that time there was a great press event to announce my retirement and the Olympics. they were very important to me. Winning a medal, be it gold, silver or bronze, is very important. You never know when these things will happen, but you should always be prepared for them. I had a lot of dreams as a player, but I realized this a long time ago: I would not exchange these two medals for anything in the world ”.