No favours from me, Moya tells Nadal

5th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 6, 2007 (AFP) - Carlos Moya has a warning for Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal.

PARIS, June 6, 2007 (AFP) - Carlos Moya has a warning for Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal.

When the two step out on to the centre court for their French Open quarter-final on Wednesday their close friendship will be shelved the moment the first serve is sent down, he insists.

The 1998 French Open champion, at 30, is nine years older than the title-holder, who has just turned 21, but both are from the Mediterranean island of Mallorca and Moya has taken the younger man under his wing on the unforgiving ATP Tour.

They are close companions but have a no-holds barred approach to the Playstation football game they have been playing against each other during the last fortnight in Paris to take their minds off the tennis.

And Moya says it will be just as cut-throat on Wednesday.

"Rafa will be an opponent, a rival. On court you don't have any friends," he said following his straight sets win over Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman that set up the clash with Nadal.

"We all compete and basically if an opponent wins he would have more points and earn more money than you.

"So Rafa will be a rival. When you are on court you want to win the match in whatever a manner. And that will be the case on Wednesday.

"Off court though we will remain friends."

Appearing again in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time in three years has delighted Moya who recognises that his career is drawing inexorably towards its conclusion.

His breakthrough win at Roland Garros in 1998, when he defeated compatriot Alex Corretja, in a straight sets final and brief tenure as the world's top-ranked player the following year, the first Spaniard to do so, marked him out as a potential multiple Grand Slam winner.

But injuries and self-doubt stopped him in his tracks and by the end of last year he was down to 43rd in the rankings failing to get past the third round in any of the Grand Slam tournaments.

Nadal's arrival on the scene in the last two years also contributed to his eclipse nationally and internationally.

But there are no regrets from one of the most popular players on the circuit who says that he gets more out of his successes now than he did in his early days.

"It's different," he said. "When I was younger maybe I didn't value things as I do right now.

"For me now it's a great honour to be in the last eight in a Grand Slam like this one. When I was 22, 23 I was top 10 and I was supposed to be in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros."

Defeating Nadal to get into the semi-finals will be an altogether different prospect for him although Moya believes that his intimate knowledge of his young compatriot's game could work in his favour.

"The last time he beat me was a tough match in three sets and I think that between Rafa and myself there will be less difference than the ranking indicates because I know him very well."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article