Rafael Nadal's remarkable triumph at Roland Garros this year has been the talk of the tennis world. The 34-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 in an inspired performance to win a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title and equal Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
In the aftermath of the victory, the Spaniard's coach Carlos Moya weighed in on his pupil's incredible achievement and described how Nadal was able to find his old level amid the pandemic and all the unusual circumstances this year.
If you see everything he puts in day-to-day, Rafael Nadal deserves everything he has achieved: Carlos Moya
Speaking to ABC, Moya had words of high praise for Rafael Nadal. The 44-year-old claimed that Nadal's recent triumph in Paris could perhaps be the greatest of his whopping 13 titles in the French capital, given everything that was happening around the world.
"Nobody knows how he has spent these months," said Moya. "Obviously, it has been a very unusual year, but for everyone. Many factors come in: mental, adaptation, coping with it in the best possible way, overcoming bad times... There have been them in recent months, but we were clear about the goal and we tried to put that above all."
"The goal was to return to the Rafa of old, a competitive Rafa , enjoying tennis. That goal has been achieved," he added.
Moya, a former French Open champion himself, pointed out that the past few months haven't been easy for anyone. He believes that at the end of it all, the team played an important role in guiding Rafael Nadal - who showed an "incredible attitude."
"People who do not see the day to day have not been aware of what these months have been. They have not been easy, but in the end, he has had an incredible attitude. It has been possible to achieve with a lot of work, the day to day was not easy. In addition to his head and what he could think, there was the situation that has affected the whole world," said Moya.
"We have had to act as psychologists for the whole team. Those of us who have been with him every day have not been workers, we have had to be friends. There have been moments of uncertainty, difficult moments. There was no routine, especially at the beginning of the lockdown," he added.
According to Moya, who joined forces with Rafael Nadal in 2017, the uncertainty surrounding the return of the tour was very unnerving for the 34-year-old.
"We didn't know when we were coming back, what tournaments were being played, when to be ready. For an elite athlete, that is killer," Moya said.
The decision to withdraw from the US Open was not an easy one, but for the 34-year-old body of Rafael Nadal that has suffered many an injury, traveling to New York was a substantial risk. At the end of the day, it fell to instinct for Moya and everyone in the Rafael Nadal camp.
"Let's see, it's risky to play a single tournament on clay and then have Roland Garros right away. At that time we believed that Rafa's head dictated that it was the best option, and we followed that instinct," said the 1998 French Open champion.
Moya also had his say on the first-ever autumn Slam, with conditions that were very difficult for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard claimed that the whole team had immense faith in Nadal despite the adverse conditions.
"The (Roland Garros) this year was the most different, without any doubt," said Moya. "You see the way to the final and it didn't seem so much, on the track he wasn't the one that suffered the most, far from it. But the road to the tournament has been the most unusual, unrepeatable. A preparation where there was no instruction book or guide, we have gone a bit blind. But for everyone. With Rafael Nadal, you always trust that he is going to get a rabbit out of his ha...If you see the day to day and everything that he works, you realize that everything he has achieved is deserved."
"There are always doubts, especially in bad times. But you get a little abstracted from day to day and from the outside you see that he is Rafa, you blindly trust him, in the courage he has, in his bravery , in which one way or another he will take it forward," Moya added.Published 13 Oct 2020, 21:28 IST