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Carlos Moya believes Rafael Nadal can win Grand Slams again and regain No. 1

The former French Open champion and ex-World No. 1 has a close bond with Rafa and all members of his team.

News 24 Dec 2016, 16:52 IST
Rafael Nadal Carlos Moya
Moya intends to start travelling with Nadal from the Australian Open

For Rafael Nadal, who has always maintained a close-knit team for years, making way for a new member may come as a surprise to many. But in reality, Carlos Moya, who the 14-time Grand Slam champion has entrusted part of his coaching duties with, is not an outsider in the truest sense of the term.

The former French Open champion and ex-World No. 1 has a close bond with Rafa and all members of his team. Being a fellow Majorcan, Nadal looked up to Moya when he was starting out and used to consider him his idol.

After two years of not-so-successful results, when the clamours for a new voice grew louder, the Spaniard has finally asked none other than the 40-year-old to lend his expertise. Of course, the latter’s split with his former pupil Milos Raonic facilitated matters.

In an interview with Spanish publication ABC Network, Moya has revealed that it was Rafa’s long-time coach and uncle Toni who took the initiative to give him a call and ask him to join the team.

“I was competing in the International Premier Tennis League and Toni called me. He learned that I was no longer with Milos Raonic and asked if he wanted to join the team and the academy. I fit in and it’s something that I feel like, being on this team is a privilege.”

For Rafa to embrace a change, he needs to first have huge faith and confidence in the fresh voice. Moya is that ideal person whose relationship with the World No. 9 goes beyond tennis courts. Very much a friend, philosopher and guide, he has self-admittedly forever been Nadal’s well-wisher even while coaching someone else. 

“Call him friend or whatever, but Nadal has confidence in me. And not only in the tennis, he trusts me on a personal level,” said Moya.

“Our relationship goes beyond the track, there is much more because of the circumstances with which it has grown. And Rafa knows I want the best for him, even when I have not been on his team. There is a trust that is fundamental for us to come to this, I know your life and your world,” he explained.

Moya, however, did not hesitate to say that despite being a friend, his role in the professional level will be completely different. That he will be more demanding than anyone else on Nadal’s team, he cautioned.

“Anyway, you have to separate the roles and understand that the friend is on one hand, but that I will demand more than anyone being inside his team. Basically because I think he has a lot of travel, he has many years ahead.”

Moya, who will be involved in the southpaw’s training sessions at Majorca, intends to start travelling with him from the Australian Open, although he did say that he will travel less than he used to during his days with Raonic. He underlined that nothing will change in the way the former World No. 1 works because he is very familiar how exactly the nine-time French Open winner likes his things. That there will be absolute ‘harmony’ with the other members of the Nadal brigade is what the newly-hired coach stressed on.

Being injury-free is of utmost importance: Moya

The most important thing that Rafa needs at this stage is to keep himself injury-free, Moya feels. His health is of paramount importance and it needs to be ensured that there is no break unlike this year when the Spaniard lost a chunk of his season due to wrist injury.

Moya believes that if Rafa can play uninterrupted, he will naturally gain in confidence and can win Grand Slams and even claw his way back to the World No.  1 ranking.

“I trust the player, for me it is basic to believe in the project. If not, I would not train, however Nadal. It was the same with Raonic, I accepted the adventure because I had absolute faith in him. I think Rafa can win Grand Slams again and regain number one.”

Asked to dissect what led to Nadal’s decline over the past couple of seasons, Moya pointed out that some little differences bring about adverse effects on one’s confidence and that is exactly what happened with Nadal. When the 30-year-old starts winning those encounters, he will automatically return to his usual level.

“In the life of a tennis player there are parties that serve as a turning point. A game that escapes you in the tie break of the last set, a game that you have controlled and you lose, a game that serves to win a title ... They help to change the tendencies, although they can also have an opposite effect. Rafa has lost some of them and that confidence is necessary. When you win those encounters, you will return to your usual level,” he elaborated.

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