Carlos Moya Believes There Is More To Come From Rafael Nadal
Former world No.1 Carlos Moya believes Rafael Nadal has the ability to challenge for grand slam titles for ‘years to come.’
Moya, who is a lifelong friend of the Spaniard, joined Nadal’s team at the start of the year. In 2017 the 31-year-old has surged back to the main stage of tennis after being troubled by a wrist injury last year. He has already won five titles this season, including the French and US Open. In August Nadal returned to world No.1 for the first time since July 2014.
Speaking to the ATP about Nadal’s return to the top, Moya believes it could only be a taste of things to come. Hinting that he could follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer, who has won two major titles this season after his 35th birthday.
“If he can stay as healthy as he is now, without injury, motivated, looking after himself the way he is, we will be talking about Rafa for years to come,” said Moya.
“He is a player who broke records as a teenager and who is now breaking them as a veteran as well. This is something we haven’t see much in the history of tennis. People talk about how physical tennis is, but here he is at 31 winning two Grand Slams, right behind Federer. We mustn’t underestimate his talent, his ability to improve, to analyse things. For me, there is no reason to think he can’t spend many more years on Tour.”
In recent years there has been an increase in players playing later into their career. In this week’s Emirates rankings, nine out of the world’s top 20 players are aged 30 or over. Meanwhile, world No.39 Ivo Karlovic is 38-years-old.
With 16 major titles to his name, Nadal is closing in on Federer’s all-time record of 19. Recently the Spaniard played down the hype surrounding the potential milestone. Insisting that it is not a focus of him.
“Do I dream about surpassing Federer in the Grand Slam title count? No, I don’t really think about it. My only dream is to continue to be healthy and happy,” Rafa recently told Spanish reporters at the US Open.
Whilst the focus may not be on overtaking his rival, Moya believes he will find a new challenge. So far in his career, Nadal has won 74 ATP titles in singles, including 30 Masters 1000 trophies and a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
“Someone who has achieved so much will always find a new challenge,” said Moya. “There aren’t many challenges left, but there are some. He is a very competitive person, a very demanding person and that helps a lot.” Explained Moya.
“He will keep finding motivation and his biggest motivation will be to keep improving, keep evolving, stay competitive and he knows that if he can do that, the options to win tournaments and fight at the top will be there.”
The next task for Nadal will be taking part in the inaugural Laver Cup. A team tournament that features team Europe against the rest of the world. The three-day exhibition event will start on September 22nd.