Sports

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya join forces on ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya join forces on ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya join forces on ATP Tour 2016 images

It wasn’t all that long ago when Milos Raonic and Carlos Moya ended their player/coach relationship on the ATP Tour. Since then tennis news has been fairly sparse as the ATP is in the short offseason. Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic were the big news last week, however, Moya is central to tennis news again as it has been announced that Rafael Nadal has signed on with his fellow Spaniard.

The ATP covered the topic on December 17th on their home page. The website cites Nadal as stating “I am very excited to announce that Carlos Moya will join my team immediately and work together with Toni (Nadal) and Francisco Roig. To have someone like Carlos who is not only a friend but also a very important person in my career is something special. He will be next to me at my practices and competition.” Nadal’s comments attest to friendship, however, they don’t speak to tennis much.

I think most might positively evaluate this move, however, there are some reasons to be skeptical of Moya as a coach. Most will point out that Raonic enjoyed his best season to date with Moya as his coach. However, a major counterpoint is that the coaching relationship still ended after all of that success. It might be that Raonic does not think his success in 2016 was due to Moya’s guidance, but other factors.

Writing very early in December I pointed out that Moya, who won the 1998 French Open, is best known for his clay-court results. However, Raonic did not enjoy a successful clay-court season in 2016, meaning that Moya’s clay-court expertise didn’t just transfer over to the Canadian. Raonic suffered a middle-round upset at Roland Garros, and he didn’t do much in Monte Carlo, Madrid, or Rome either. Compared to some earlier seasons, Raonic actually did worse on clay in 2016.

rafael nadal joins up with carlos moya

When it comes to the Canadian’s success at Wimbledon, don’t forget that Raonic signed on John McEnroe just ahead of the All England Club’s grass-court championships. A fair question is which coach helped Raonic the most in greater London? I see the answer as only one that Raonic can provide, and his decision to end his player/coach relationship with Moya speaks volumes to me.

Where Moya can take Nadal isn’t clear, and Nadal’s health/fitness is a big part of that question. Certainly, when it comes to clay, it would be Nadal teaching Moya and not the other way around and the same could be said about the other surfaces. However, there is simply the matter of filling a vacancy on Team Nadal with a qualified candidate and Moya, as a former No. 1, is certainly a brilliant tennis mind. While I don’t see Moya/Nadal as a game breaker at this point, perhaps the best help that Moya can provide Nadal simply has to do with Rafa’s age. Nadal turns 31 in 2017 and Moya played until he was 34 years old before he reluctantly retired in 2010. Moya faced late-career injuries, and perhaps the way he dealt with them will give him some perspective that can help Rafa prolong his career.

Sports
@GrandSlambert77

Shane is a sports writer with a big interest in tennis, but he's also a noted writer about travel and fiction. Plus he can handle long walks in the cold Canadian tundra!

More in Sports

Was Madison Keys Trolled after Exit from 2017 Miami Open 2017 images

Was Madison Keys Trolled after Exit from 2017 Miami Open?

Shane LambertMarch 29, 2017
devin booker 70 points doesn't help suns against celtics 2017 images

Devin Booker’s 70 points doesn’t help Suns against Celtics

Chris MauriceMarch 27, 2017
tony romo trying fantasy conference again hoping nfl doesn't stop it 2017 images

Tony Romo trying fantasy conference again hoping NFL doesn’t block it

Chris MauriceMarch 27, 2017
roger goodell critical of oakland raiders move 2017 images

Roger Goodell critical of Oakland Raiders move

Chris MauriceMarch 27, 2017
Will Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs end 'The Canadian Slump' 2017 images

Will Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs end ‘The Canadian Slump’?

Shane LambertMarch 26, 2017
martellus bennett doesn't need video on nfl celebrations he knows how to party 2017 images

Martellus Bennett doesn’t need video on NFL celebrations, he knows how to party

Chris MauriceMarch 26, 2017
Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby   NHL Hart Memorial MVP Race Heats Up 2017 images

Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby – NHL Hart Memorial MVP Race Heats Up

Shane LambertMarch 25, 2017
roger goodell vows less nfl commercials 2017 images

Roger Goodell vows less NFL commercials

Chris MauriceMarch 23, 2017
donald trump weighs in on colin kaepernicks nfl future

Donald Trump weighs in on Colin Kaepernick’s NFL future

Chris MauriceMarch 22, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription