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.”