Tearful Moya confirms he is hanging his racket

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MADRID - A tearful Carlos Moya formally announced his retirement from professional tennis, from which he had been away for months due to injury.

“It was an open secret,” he told a press conference in Madrid Wednesday. “That time has come.”

Former world number one Moya, 34, is yet to play the Spanish Masters Cup in Seville December 9-11, and a tournament in Buenos Aires a few days later. But his decision to retire is final, he said.

“I don’t want to picture the moment when I play my last match,” he said. “It is true that I’m young for life, but for sport I am a little bit old.”

Moya had the company of former Spanish tennis stars like Manolo Santana, Albert Costa and Carlos Costa as he announced the decision.

Moya goes out with a number 511 ATP ranking. He underwent hip surgery in 2009 and suffered with right foot problems over the past two years.

The long series of injuries have hampered the efforts of this handsome, charismatic player. In recent years, playing tennis became a painful ritual for him, and his last match to date, in May, ended in a 6-0, 6-2 defeat to the German Benjamin Becker in the first round in Madrid.

But Moya feels satisfied with his career overall.

“I played for 15 years, I don’t really consider myself a tennis player who has particularly suffered from injuries,” he told reporters.

Beyond physical problems, Moya and actress Carolina Cerezuela had baby Carla on August 18.

Moya, with a powerful drive, rose to prominence in January 1997 by defeating Boris Becker and Michael Chang to reach the final of the Australian Open, in which only Pete Sampras could stop him.

He won a total of 20 tournaments, including the 1998 French Open, and he was world number one for two weeks in March 1999, a position that no Spaniard had held until then in the professional era. He earned 575 wins and took 319 defeats during his career.

He also played a key role in Spain’s 2004 Davis Cup final triumph over the US with his win against Andy Roddick.

“My success came in the last century,” joked the popular Spaniard.

Moya’s experience paved the way for other Spanish players, including fellow Mallorca native Rafael Nadal, the current world number one, who is a very close friend of Moya’s.

Moya is due to appear next week at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, but not to play, he joked.

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