Article from Tennis Week [Archive] -

Article from Tennis Week

01-03-2004, 09:43 AM
[From Tennis Week]

Moya Sets Sights On Return To Top

Photo By Cynthia Lum By Adrianna Outlaw

Four years ago, Carlos Moya was the best player on the planet. Today, the stylish Spaniard believes he's even better than he was when he reached the top of tennis and that his best tennis is yet to come.

"I am a better player now than when I was world No. 1," Moya told The Sunday Telegraph. "I am a more complete player, more mature and four years older. I have the experience to know now what it takes to win and have belief in myself."

Only two players in the top 10 — the seemingly ageless Andre Agassi, who celebrates his 34th birthday in April and sixth-ranked Rainer Schuettler (27 years, eight months) — are older than Moya, who celebrated his 27th birthday on August 27th. But the man from Mallorca, who used his formidable forehand to post a 58-22 record and win three tournament titles in 2003, believes he has the weapons to challenge tennis' young guns for the top spot in the rankings in 2004.

"Having been in the top 10, four times at the end of the year, I know what is needed to get back to No. 1," Moya told The Sunday Telegraph. "To be No1 again I need to win another grand slam next year and for me that is a great challenge."

The 1998 Roland Garros champion plans to play the adidas International, which begins on January 12th in Sydney, as preparation for the Australian Open. The man who often sports sleeveless Nike shirts, believes he's well-armed to win in Sydney.

"Now I am in the top 10 again and feeling fit and confident, I can win this tournament," Moya said.

In his last appearance at the event, Moya reached the 1997 Sydney final, falling to Tim Henman. He carried that form onto the Rebound Ace surface of the 1997 Australian Open, advancing to his first Grand Slam final where he succumbed to Pete Sampras, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. The next year, Moya captured the Roland Garros title before rising to the top of the rankings in March of 1999.

He seemed to solidify his status as a top-10 mainstay, but injuries (Moya suffered a stress fracture in his back in 1999) and questions surrounding his commitment began to emerge and Moya failed to finish in the top 10 for three consecutive years.

A recent resurgence saw Moya finish the 2002 season ranked No. 5. He concluded 2003 ranked seventh as he completed the season by qualifying for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup for the second straight year before stunning Mark Philippoussis on the grass courts of Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena to account for Spain's sole point in its 3-1 setback to Australia in the Davis Cup final.

Moya was not a member of the Spanish Davis Cup squad that captured the country's first Davis Cup championship with a 3-1 triumph over Australia in 2000, but he's looking forward to competing for his country again in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

"I heard Lleyton will not play the Olympics at Athens next year, but for me, I shall be there with Juan Carlos (Ferrero)," Moya said. "It is a great honor to play for my country, if I get the chance. The same as it is for Davis Cup."

Moya has grown and so has his game. His forceful forehand and strengthened serve remain his signature shots, but Moya has managed his weaker backhand side more effectively and has shown a willingness to move forward in the court and punctuate points at the net with his solid volley. He has caused headaches for Hewitt, winning five of his eight matches with the former No. 1, by alternating high topspin shots that often pin Hewitt into defensive positions behind the baseline with flat forehands that can elude the fleet-footed Aussie.

Though he's scripted great success against the former Wimbledon winner, Moya isn't ready to write off the 17th-ranked Hewitt in his quest to return to the top of tennis.

"They (Andy Roddick, Roger Federer and Juan Carlos Ferrero) are still very young, but Lleyton Hewitt has been there and is a great champion," Moya told The Sunday Telegraph. "We have had some great matches and Lleyton is only 22 too and for sure he can get back to top 10 and probably No. 1."

01-03-2004, 11:58 AM
Hey, thanks for this article!!
Great to see him so positive....I really do hope he does well in Australia this year!!! :)

01-08-2004, 06:25 AM
OZ and Wimbledon are his two best bets for another slam. He will not win RG due to Guga (hip and body are coming back), JC, Coria, Roger, Safin. Moya is wasting his career by skipping Wimbledon. He could make the qrts or semis or even win it. I just don't get it. I wish he took my advice. Too bad I never got to see him again in Miami, we could have talk about it much more. MOYA :eek: UP AND PLAY AT THE ALL ENGLAND CLUB. :bounce:

01-09-2004, 12:44 AM
:topic: Hate to get off topic, but will you be in Miami this year, Dirk???

01-09-2004, 06:18 AM
No I wish, maybe next year. I would love to go to the Open. I was in Miami or near there for school. I wish I could talk to Moya. He was very nice although it was not easy since all the ladies were on him and he had a match to go to. I was there and supported his win. :crazy: When I met Moya I congratulated him on coming back from two breaks to win the 2nd set. He was happy and we talked for a few a minute. I asked him if he would play wimbly this year and he said I don't know and I said you really should cause I think you could win it. He said Really with a shocked look on his face and was surprised but happy. I told him that yeah cause you have great reflexes and you know how to play at the net with your cat and mouse game up there. He said oh thanks and then said he had to leave to get ready for his match. Some ladies came and got their pics taken with him and were drooling as he walked away. I wish I had stay there for an extra day cause I could have seen him again and talked to him some more along with Roger. :sad: I talked to his coach and said the same thing about Wimbly, but they didn't listen obviously. :rolleyes: