Former World No 1 and Spanish tennis star Carlos Moya talks about picking up the racquet again for IPTL, his biggest
achievement and what makes Nadal, Federer top-class players
New Delhi: Spain's Carlos Moya retired from professional tennis five years ago, after winning a French Open, a Davis Cup and being World No 1. Speaking to SUNDAY mid-day, Moya's answers were as expansive as his forehands.
Q. What motivates a retired player to take up the racquet again for IPTL
A. The competition! That is what I miss the most. It's great for us to be here. For two-three weeks, we feel like we're players again.
Singapore Slammers' Carlos Moya during the IPTL match against Philippine Mavericks at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Friday. Pic/PTI
Q. When you played, there was a good mix of serve-and-volley and baseline. Now it's more of a baseline game...
A. It would be good to find a balance — players having the chance to serve and volley and having the chance to play from the baseline. The contrast of styles would be great. I guess you have to change surfaces. Twenty years ago, everything was so fast, now it's opposite. To have a good rivalry you should have opposite styles. Why are Nadal-Federer so successful? Because they are totally different.
Q. Nadal spoke of hitting with you when he was a kid. Do you remember him as a child?
A. Yes I remember, he was 11 when I first saw him. We had the first of thousands of hits in Germany. I realised then itself that this kid was different than others.
Q. Federer is not the top-ranked player, but remains most popular. Can anyone match his popularity?
A. I think it's going to be difficult. Roger's success is not just about how many trophies he has, but how he has won all those trophies, how he plays. That's what people like the most. It's not just about winning, it's the way he wins.
Q. Looking back, what has been the highlight of your career?
A. Being No 1 I guess. It's the biggest achievement you can have in tennis. But the feeling of winning the Davis Cup (in 2004) on home soil, in front of 27,000 people, was probably the best feeling I ever had on court.
Q. You've come to India several times - what do you like about the country?
A. The first time, I think I came was back in 1999 for the Chennai Open. Everything is different here than Europe or the United States, but it was a great experience and I really wanted to come back. That's why I played the tournament in Chennai some seven-eight times. I feel people here are very kind and very warm towards players and athletes.