Moya honored 4 days after retirement from tennis

Four days after announcing his retirement from tennis, former
top-ranked player Carlos Moya was back on court and the center of
attention.

This time, however, he was wearing a suit instead of shorts and
tennis shoes.

The 34-year-old Spaniard, who retired on Wednesday after a
15-year career and one Grand Slam title, was honored Sunday on the
opening day of the ATP World Tour Finals.

”It’s always great when people remember you, even when you’re
not at the top,” Moya said after getting a round of applause from
the packed crowd at the O2 Arena. ”Although I didn’t play great
here at Wimbledon – well, I one year played fourth round – they
treat me very well always.”

Moya, who won the 1998 French Open and reached the Australian
Open final the year before, was brought out on court shortly after
Andy Murray beat Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-4 in the opening match of
the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the
world.

Moya, who quit the game because of a nagging foot injury, won 20
ATP titles and played his last match in May at the Madrid Masters.
He became the first Spaniard to become No. 1 in the rankings, in
March 1999.

He was an early training partner of Rafael Nadal, who is also
from the island of Mallorca and was present at the ceremony.

”Knowing him for so long makes it special for me because first
time I met him he was just 11, 12 years old,” Moya said of Nadal’s
success. ”When he was 13, 14 years old, we were practicing
together. I was near the top 10 and sometimes he was beating me
during the practice.

”I realized 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 – but maybe the
greatest. I could never expect that, to be honest.”