Day 11 - An interview with Carlos Moya - Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Q. In the ad court, Nadal serving, one serve to the backhand after another, just all day. How disappointing was that for you to have so much trouble returning that? And did it eventually break down your confidence a little bit with your backhand?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, I don't think -- I don't think it was just only backhand side. I feel that today that I didn't play really good tennis. You play like that, it happens what happened today, so...
He played way better than me. And maybe first set at the beginning he wasn't playing that well, and after I broke his serve, he broke me back immediately. So after he won the first set, everything was easier for him.
But, you know, I think I was playing a great tennis, and hundred percent. It was going to be very tough to beat him. Imagine playing the way I did today, there was no way that -- the few chances I had to break his serve, I didn't make them. So it happens what happened today when you don't do that.
So I'm not very happy the way I played today.
Q. What about his game has improved the most, would you say, over the last year or so?
CARLOS MOYA: Yeah, I think today he played very well. Maybe not the first seven, eight games, but after that, I could not play my game at all. He was playing very deep, very high. Even when his ball bounces in the middle of the court, it bounced with such a spin that it's very difficult to attack him.
And he's been playing very solid. He's very good from the backhand side. And there's not much I could do today, to be honest.
Q. When it was over at the net, you shook hands. What did you have to say to each other?
CARLOS MOYA: Not much.
Q. Just normal?
CARLOS MOYA: Just hold on, and good luck for the next matches.
Q. Can I just ask, it's long been said that Roger Federer needed another player along in the men's game to actually extend him, so we could find out how good he is. How close is Nadal to that now? And do you think that he has a chance of actually surpassing him and becoming the No. 1 player?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, it depends how -- how they're going to do here, how Wimbledon's going to go. I think Nadal has a good chances here. If he wins here, if he's able to do same as he did last year, win here and final in Wimbledon, I think he will have a good chance to be No. 1. But, we have to see what's going to happen.
I think Nadal is improving his game, year after year. But Roger doesn't show any sign of being weaker than last year. Maybe a round he play his best, and where was that, in Miami? But Roger is always Roger, and you have to respect him a lot.
And it's going to be interesting to see what's happening the next month. And after Wimbledon, you can really know if Rafael has a chance to end the year as the No. 1.
Q. You know better than most players how difficult it is to win here. And Rafa hasn't dropped a set. The ball can bounce funny here. How remarkable is it that you could go through this tournament without losing a set?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, it's not easy at all. That shows how much better he is to the other guys. I think that there are just a few players who can, not just -- not beat him, but even get a set from him. He's playing this way. I don't see -- maybe, if he -- if he is relaxed for a couple of games, maybe he loses his serve, so that's the only chance. But if he's playing focused the whole match and solid the way he did after the first eight games, I don't see many players who can even get a set off him.
Of course, Federer's one of them, and Djokovic can be one of them. Cañas, Davydenko, the three guys left in the draw, they are able to win a set. And they play very well even to beat him. But from the other guys, I don't see many of them able to take a set off him.
Q. Why do you say that about Novak in particular?
CARLOS MOYA: What?
Q. Why do you say that about Novak? Why would he be somebody that could take a set from him?
CARLOS MOYA: Why? Because he's the No. 3 player in the world right now, in the champion, yeah, in the race. And he's a guy that is improving a lot year after year. And he's a year older than Nadal. So, he's very complete player, and he's playing very well in any kind of surface, and he has all the shots. He's a good serve, good return, good forehand, backhand.
So why not he -- I think he has a chance to. I don't know if he can win, but he has the game to play well, and to give Nadal some trouble.
Q. When you won here in '98, Nadal was, like, 12. Did this young kid you've known for years, when you first met him and when you saw his tennis, did you think he was going to reach those levels? Like, did you see that he could improve to become almost like World No. 1? And how do you feel today again after playing this match? Could you also see back this young kid?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, first time I met him, he was 12 years old. You know how difficult it is to get there, and you don't really think that you have in front of you a future No. 2 in the world, winner of a few Grand Slams. He was one of the best already. He's 8 in the world, but I've seen so many 12, 13, 14 years old kids that are playing very well, best in the world, and then they cannot make it to the professional level. So maybe he was going to be one of them.
But it's never easy to see a future star. I knew that he was going to have a good career, but nobody expected him to be as good as he is right now. Maybe when he was 17, that he's starting to win tournaments and all this stuff, maybe, okay. But not when he's 12, 13 years old. I mean, you don't see anything special.
I mean, for sure, he's a great competitor, because he was winning the tournament, but it's really hard to see if he was going to be as good as he has been right now.
Q. Question about Carlos Moya?
CARLOS MOYA: Good (laughing).
Q. You're 30 years old, and I think earlier in this year there were probably a lot of people who don't know you, just tennis fans, who are thinking, Maybe, Carlos Moya's best years are behind him and he's now going to slowly fade into the sunset. But you've been sort of reborn a bit at this tournament, haven't you? And what does it mean, now, for the rest of this year and maybe the next couple of years of your career?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, I always believe that I had a lot of tennis inside of me that didn't come out yet. And now looks like finally this tennis coming out.
So I'm very happy the way I've been playing the whole week, even the last weeks. Even the season so far has been very good for me. And I'm going to be around 15 in the world in the race, and close to 20 in the entry system. So my goal was to be Top 20 by the end of the year. I think it's something that can happen, if I'm playing this way. If I am healthy, I feel that my tennis is still good for these days, for these kids. And I really believe now that I can make it.
So I know that I'm going to have to be playing this way in the future, and it's not going to be easy. But I'll do my best. I'm enjoying and I'm having fun. And, you know, for sure I have even playing this way a couple more years ahead of me.
Q. It's surprising hearing somebody 30 years old saying I knew I had it in me, but it's just coming out at age 30. Why did it take so long?
CARLOS MOYA: Well, it disappeared for a couple of years (smiling). But it's not that I didn't play tennis in my whole career. I think I played very good tennis past years. And, just, I knew that my level still was there, but it was something mental. And tennis doesn't disappear overnight. Mentally, maybe, I changed little bit after I won the Davis Cup.
But I knew sooner or later it was if I was focused again, and really believing that my tennis was going to come back, it would happen, and, you know, it's all here, I think. And I was very sure that this will happen, and it happened.
So I have to continue now. I think I've done the hardest part of the job, but I still have to continue working very hard, and believing in myself, and supporting my team -- my team supporting me. And, for sure, I still want to have great tennis in the next month and in the next years.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. It was a tough match for you, so it is true that you've tried hard today, but it's not serious, in fact.
CARLOS MOYA: I knew that it would be a tough match, and Rafa was better than me. And, in fact, we didn't play like friends. And, in fact, I won -- I knew that it was a matter of imposing my game, and it was very difficult for me to dictate the game. And it is true there are some breakpoints, and I couldn't convert them, and I should have played better.
But I was facing Rafa and it was very tough. I mean, he played solid, tough. The bounce of his ball is very high, and against the wind, it was not possible to win the game. And, in fact, when I have wind with me, I mean, I can play better, but it didn't materialize today. I could have done better, honestly. I'm not truly happy with the way I played.
Q. You were able to break his serve in the first serve?
CARLOS MOYA: Yes, I mean, I broke his serve, but he broke me back. And at the end of the day, he was able to break me again, and I have nothing to add. From then on, he started to play brilliantly. But, in fact, I had some chances, and I didn't convert them, and I didn't play my game. So that's why I'm disappointed, and I'm a little bit bitter.
Q. In this match, and along the week, you've played well. So what is the impact of your team, the people around you?
CARLOS MOYA: The people around me supported me. And it is true that my tennis level has improved over the week. I know that I can play at this level, and my objective was to be ranked among the Top 20. I'm on the right track. And, for the second part of the year, I will try to improve. And the hardest part of the challenge has been met, but I just need to maintain my level, and I need to be motivated, concentrated, focus. And I need to enjoy playing, and that's what I do.
Q. Before the match, we talked about emotional bonds and the psychological aspect. Does it have an impact on you?
CARLOS MOYA: I don't think so. It is true that the psychological impact was, of course, a feature of that match. It is true that there is mutual respect between the two players, and it's true that I made some errors. But anyway, he played better than me. He didn't allow me to play my game. But you always have this mental aspect.
I can tell you that he didn't make a lot of errors. He served very well. His serve was heavy, a thumping. And when I played with the wind, I mean, I didn't seize the opportunities. And I can tell you that this match won't go down in history.
Q. You will head for Wimbledon, won't you? Can you tell me if God is disguised into Nadal? Why is he invincible?
CARLOS MOYA: I don't feel and think that God is on the court. I mean, God hasn't appeared here. I mean, we have a very good player. So, it's important to fight for every point. For example, he can hit a shot in the middle of the court, but the ball bounces very high. It's very difficult to return, and to retrieve the ball. He is a very solid player, and it is very difficult to chase down his shots.
So when you have some chances, you need to make the most of them, and I didn't do that.
Q. So, did you play with the Playstation?
CARLOS MOYA: No, I didn't.
Q. What do you think of the third set, 6-Love? What was the problem?
CARLOS MOYA: I mean, it's a little bit painful when you lose a set 6-0. It was very difficult to turn this situation around. I tried hard, but it was very solid. It felt very uncomfortable, and I couldn't do much about it.
Q. Talking about the third set, he was in the lead two sets to Love, 5-Love in the third, he had some breakpoints. Were you surprised? How can you assess this difficult game? And, in fact, Nadal didn't want to give you easy points?
CARLOS MOYA: This has to do with Nadal's mindset, with Rafa's mindset. I mean, I didn't expect any gifts from him. I'm not going to be cross about that. I mean, I knew him. If I wanted to win the last game, I had to fight hard. I fought hard, but I didn't make it. That's all.
Q. If he continues to play at this level, how do you envision the continuation of the tournament? The semifinals and a possible final against Roger?
CARLOS MOYA: I would say that he might lose if somebody serves well, if somebody is able to dictate the play. And, in fact, Federer, with his forehand, could beat him.
For Djokovic, I don't know. I've seen him play, but I don't know his way of playing. But it will be a tough for Djokovic to beat him. But I would say that in order to beat Rafa, you need to dictate the play. You need to dominate. But in the best-of-five-set match, it will be difficult.
Q. We've talked about Federer's performance at Hamburg, and in Hamburg, you defeated Berdych and Djokovic. So if you talk with Rafa, you will give him some advice on how to beat Djokovic?
CARLOS MOYA: I think that he doesn't need any advice from me. So, you know, Djokovic, he played Djokovic in Rome. So I think that Rafa needs to continue to play the way he plays. And I can tell you that my advice won't be useable.
Q. You reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Can we count on you?
CARLOS MOYA: Of course, you can count on me. It is true that I lost to Hewitt a few years ago in the Round of 16. It was a tough match. But before that, I won some important matches. I heard that grass is not as quick and as fast as in the past. And grass specialists are few and far between. So if I have a good row, if my level is good, I hope that I will win a few matches, and then we'll see what happens.
Q. A few years ago, you played important matches here. You defeated Rios, and you defeated Agassi. But before this match today, the match with Rafa, what can you tell us about it? What was your feeling before stepping on the court with regard to this match?
CARLOS MOYA: I want to play this match, but I knew that it would be difficult to win the match. But I was full of confidence. I could have served better, I could have used my forehand better, and the match would have been different.
It was a very important match for me, but I'm not happy with the way I played. I would say that I was not up to the job. I wanted to win. But before the match, I was determined. I was nervous to a certain extent. I was nervous because it's a great match. Had I won, it would have been a surprise, basically, but I was a little bit nervous before the match. And I feel that Rafa was also nervous. But he wasn't affected by that.
Q. So you are back to Roland Garros, new court Center Court. You haven't played very often on this. So what were you feeling?
CARLOS MOYA: Last year I played on this court. Last year I played on this Center Court at the US Open. This year I played in Australia, Indian Wells, Miami on Center Courts. So these courts are similar, in terms of size. So I won't be impressed by the size of the court, so to speak.
Of course, he was more used to it, because he knows better the court than me, because he's played all his matches on Center Court. But it can't be an excuse. I was not impressed by this court.
Q. What about the wind? You were saying that the wind was against you. Can you tell me if the wind was blowing very strongly?
CARLOS MOYA: During the match, either you have the wind in your favor or against. So when the wind was against me, it was very difficult to win a game, especially if you take into account the speed of his shots and balls. It is true that I had some breakpoints and I couldn't materialize them, and that is the weakness, I would say. It is very difficult to control and thwart the speed and pace of his ball. And I wanted to serve well, basically.
Q. If you hadn't played against Rafa in the quarterfinals, you might have been more peaceful or calmer.
CARLOS MOYA: More opportunities, of course. I mean, we are talking about the best clay court player in the world at the present time. I was a little bit nervous, as I told you. It is true that I should have made the most of this event. So basically, you are a little bit nervous when you have to win. But I can tell you that I enjoyed this match. Basically, when you are the favorite, the favorite, you have more pressure.
But it's good. I prefer having some pressure, because it means that, in theory, I'm better than my opponent, that's all. So I would say that I was not more nervous than in other matches.
Q. You said that you tried to win, but you stepped on the court safe in the knowledge that it would be difficult to win a five-set match against Rafa. So did it happen to you once, thinking about the end of the match, and the fate of the match?
CARLOS MOYA: When I step on court, basically, I don't know the end result. And that was the case today. I knew that it was a difficult mission today, a difficult objective to reach, but I would say that I should have given him a harder time, and I couldn't.
But what is important is to make the most of the opportunities. And, in fact, I would say that when I started the match, it was not a foregone conclusion. I mean, before the match, I wanted to win it.
Q. You are familiar with the tennis in Argentina. Are you surprised to see that there are no Argentinian people?
CARLOS MOYA: I think that the remaining players are the best. It's not something theoretical. I mean, that's reality. I would say that Nalbandian, Cañas, posted nice victories here. But that's the way it is. That's tennis, basically. I'm not surprised by the names of the semifinalists here. So, Tommy Robredo, Cañas, and Andreev, these are good players. So, all of these players are very good. And I'm not really surprised, I mean, by their achievements.
Q. And what about the other players?
CARLOS MOYA: I mean, I don't know, but I would say that all of these players are in the quarterfinals are good players. Their matches are well, not disastrous.