Moya: "Rafa Always Gives His Best"
Spaniard believes Nadal will be challenging at the top for years to come
When Carlos Moya joined Rafael Nadal's team ahead of the 2017 season, he did so with total optimism. "When I joined the team I knew that there was much more to come for Rafa, that if he stayed injury free and continued training with the same motivation, desire and confidence, that the tennis would come," said Moya.
"And in any case, we are talking about a legend, so the victories always come sooner or later," added Nadal's coach, himself a former World No. 1. He wasn't mistaken. Three Grand Slam finals later, and with the US Open trophy now in his player's hands, Moya couldn't be more satisfied.
Their relationship and friendship is well documented, with Moya mentoring Nadal since he was a teenager. But has anything ever surprised him about Nadal during his career? "Many things have surprised me," he responds without hesitation. "When I saw his progress, how quickly he went through every stage of development, when he won Wimbledon, when he achieved things that were unthinkable at that time in Spanish tennis... Now, nothing will surprise me anymore. He always gives the best of himself. We are talking about one of the greatest players in history and, as such, my faith in him is rock solid."
Moya, who as a coach has guided Nadal to three Grand Slam finals this year as well as taking Milos Raonic to the Wimbledon final in 2016, sees Nadal competing for everything in the future. "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 the Mallorcan.
"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," said Moya.
Can a World No. 1 and winner of 16 Grand Slams stay motivated? "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. 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."