Former world no.1 Carlos Moya, the man who first put Majorca on the tennis map, believes he has played his last match on Spanish clay but is now ready to move into sports public relations with one of his main clients being his fellow islander Rafael Nadal.
Moya, aged 32 and plagued by injuries in recent years, is set to go into partnership with former ATP World Tour staffer Benito Perez-Barbadilo , the principal and founder of B1PR which currently directs the media activities of both Nadal and world no.2 Novak Djokovic.
Ever since he emerged onto the ATP World Tour as a teenage powerhouse seven years ago, Nadal has long seen Moya as a friend, guide and mentor in the world of tennis. The pair has always remained close, occasionally playing doubles together.
Moya has been seeking avenues to pursue once his tennis career, which climaxed by winning the French Open in 1998 and reaching top spot on the ATP World Tour rankings nine months later. Last year he had plenty of time to think and plan after being sidelined from February onward following hip surgery.
No sooner had he tried to return to action than he suffered a stress fracture of the right foot and after a string of less than satisfactory results, was forced to withdraw from the second round in Indian Wells.
He played his first match in three months when handed a wild card into the ongoing Mutua Madrilena Open in Madrid but only managed to win a couple of games as he lost 6-0,6-2 to Germany’s Benjamin Becker and cut something of a sad figure.
“It is difficult for an athlete to know when the moment has come to retire,” said Moya. “Tennis has been the love of my life and when you are with the love of your life and everything doesn’t go well, you don’t just go walking away immediately. Instead you hold on and hope things can get better.”
Moya conceded it was almost certainly his last match at the Caja Magica but remains hopeful of finally bowing out at the French Open in a couple of weeks time with a sentimental last journey to Roland Garros.
“The setback with the foot has been hard,” said the player who won 20 career titles and amassed more than $13 million in prize money. “I could not properly play the tournaments where I've had some of the best memories of my career -- the Australian Open [where he reached his first Grand Slam final, Indian Wells and Miami [where he clinched the no.1 spot].”
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