|Posted on November 21, 2010 at 7:59 PM|
Former World No. 1 Carlos Moya was honoured on court in a special retirement ceremony Sunday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Former World No. 1 Carlos Moya took part in an emotional retirement ceremony on Sunday, alongside every player competing at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and a selection of former ATP World Tour stars.
Earlier this week, the 34-year-old Spaniard ended a 15-year professional career that included 20 titles, including 1998 Roland Garros. He had been suffering from a long-term foot injury.
“It was not easy,” admitted Moya, on his decision to retire. “But it didn't happen overnight. [Tennis] is a sport I love. It is what I've been doing since I was six years old. And it’s not easy to leave the love of your life. I have no regrets about anything because I try my best.”
Nadal, who first met Moya when he was 11 years old, admitted: "It's a sad day for me because I'm saying goodbye to a friend and tennis is saying goodbye to a great ambassador.
"He was the first Spaniard to be number one and he helped me a lot when I was a young player. I've missed him a lot this last year when he's not been on the circuit."
Moya, speaking at a post-ceremony press conference, never imagined the precocious young talent would become one of the all-time great players.
"He is amazing player," said Moya, who was embraced by past and present players including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. “He was a good prospect of being a good player but you never know what can happen. I realised he had something special, but could never think that he could be that good, to be honest.
"He's one of the greatest ever. But he's on his way to become, who knows, maybe the greatest."
Moya also admitted, “I think he helped me. When he was 13 or 14 we were practising together. I was near the Top 10 and sometimes he was beating me during the practice.
"That made me think. That made me improve, and evolve. You see a kid like this kicking your ass so you try to avoid that. So he made me improve and made me more positive.
Moya received a warm reception from 17,500 fans as he walked onto the Centre Court at The O2 in London.
“Although I didn't play great here at Wimbledon, well – one year played fourth round – they treated me always very well. They knew I was a Top 10 player.
“Today has been an honour for me to be here. Like I said before, I would like to thank the ATP for this recognition. It has been a great feeling.”
Spaniard Carlos Moya, a former World No. 1, reflects on his 15-year professional career and his plans for life after retirement.