Moya model of major gentleman
By Margie McDonald
January 15, 2007
CARLOS Moya knows deep down he will never hoist a grand slam trophy above his head again, but he can stand stubbornly in the way of those who can.
When his name popped up on the 32-player men's singles draw for the 10th time at the Sydney International last week, many asked "is he still playing?" "To be honest I know another (slam win) will be very difficult but you never know. You cannot say 'never again' because you have to believe in yourself, have those high dreams, otherwise why bother to enter a grand slam?" Moya said.
Moya is not among the 32 men's seeds in Melbourne this week and he suffered his worst year-end ranking in 2006 (No.43) since 1995 (63), when he turned pro.
His title win in Buenos Aires last year ensured he has won least one ATP title for the past seven years. The Spaniard with the steely glaze has 19 career singles titles and has been runner-up on 20 other occasions.
Although the grand slam sun is setting, his performance at Sydney, where he saved a match point in the first round, another in the second round, came back from a break down in the third set to beat Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-final and then toppled the talented Richard Gasquet in the semi-final, is what drives him.
"Sometimes I have felt like quitting. I achieved everything that was in my dreams and there's been times when I have felt there is no reason to keep going. I could stay home more often and be with my family," Moya said.
"But these kind of matches are the ones that make me keep going, to motivate me to keep walking out there in the sun. As long as I can play these kind of matches, I'll be around for a few more years."
Moya has already done time. The 1998 French Open champion, who was runner-up to Pete Sampras at the 1997 Australian Open, was No.1 in the world for two weeks in March 1999. Since his triumph at Roland Garros, he has played in 28 other grand slams but his best finish has been three quarter-final appearances.
It would seem the glory days are over.
But look again. The Mr Eternal of men's tennis will turn 31 in August, in his 12th year on the world tour.
But, he said, reaching the Sydney final on Saturday night against world No.5 James Blake, where he came from a set down and 0-4 down in the second to lose in three 6-3 5-7 6-1, proved to him he still had a right to be on the world stage.
"There is very special feeling for me now in being able to beat guys who are 10 years younger than me and who, for sure, are going to be top 10 in the future," he said.
Both 21 year-old Baghdatis (No.11) and 20-year-old Gasquet (18) are in the top 20. In 1996, when Moya was 20 and ranked in the mid-30s, he knocked over Boris Becker - then world No.2 - at the Paris Indoors and Thomas Muster in Munich. Both players were nine years older than Moya.
"It's like looking in a mirror for me now, then there's the feeling of playing in full stadiums, such a good atmosphere, and that's something I'm never going to have again when I retire so I try to enjoy every moment," he said.
He has always been a bit of an enigma.
Moya writes left-handed, plays right-handed.
In 1999 People magazine voted him one of the world's 50 most beautiful people. In 2000 he launched his own cologne, in 2001 he made his acting debut as a tennis coach in a Spanish movie Torrente II and amongst all that he did his six months of compulsory military service.
Against Blake in Sydney, he was attempting to become the first active player to win a title on five continents. He first conquered South America (Buenos Aires), then Europe (Monte Carlo), North America (Long Island) and Asia (Chennai).
Australia still eludes him. He is now 0-4 in finals here - three Sydney runner-up finishes (to Tim Henman in 1997, Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 and Blake 2007) and one Australian Open (to Sampras in 1997).
But he impressed Blake no end. The pair meets again tomorrow being drawn together in the first round - their 10th meeting since 2002 and the fourth in less than a year.
"That's why he is where he is and why he's done what he's done in this sport, because he keeps fighting every time, and we saw it time after time this week, down match points first and second rounds, against Baghdatis just fighting for every single match, and that's so impressive," Blake said.
"For someone who's accomplished everything he has in the sport to still be competing hard for every point, first round to the finals, that's a true competitor, and it's something kids can look up to."
click me for source, thank you