Carlos Moya is probably the biggest key of Rafael Nadal's resurgence in the 2017 season. The former world no. 1 joined his compatriot's team in December 2016 and helped Nadal reach three of the four Grand Slam finals this year.
'I really thought Rafa still had this (ability to be the world no. 1) inside of him,' said Moya after Nadal's 16th Grand Slam title won beating Kevin Anderson in the final. 'It’s easy to say that now, of course, but honestly, I was thinking this in December.
It was key to start with the final in Australia, but I was sure that he’d have a chance if he played well, to win some more Slams and be no. 1. When I joined the team I knew that there was much more to come for Rafa, that if he stayed injury free and continued training with the same motivation, desire and confidence, that the tennis would come.
And in any case, we are talking about a legend, so the victories always come sooner or later.'' Moya was aware of his capabilities: 'When I saw his progress, how quickly he went through every stage of development, when he won Wimbledon, when he achieved things that were unthinkable at that time in Spanish tennis.
Now, nothing will surprise me anymore. He always gives the best of himself. We are talking about one of the greatest players in history and, as such, my faith in him is rock solid.' Moya thinks Nadal is playing better than ten years ago: 'He’s not 20-years-old anymore, but he’s probably smarter on the court.
Anticipation is playing a big role in that. As you get older, you understand better the game and understand where the other guy can hit or cannot hit. Probably when he was 20, he was faster than now, but now he anticipates and covers the court better, so I think we’re pretty happy with that part.' Now it's the perfect time to keep going and trying to win as many titles as possible.
Nadal seems to be in the most comfortable position as he is five years younger than Roger Federer, and is much more confident than Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray who are skipping the second half of the season. 'If he can stay as healthy as he is now, without injury, motivated, looking after himself the way he is, we will be talking about Rafa for years to come.
He is a player who broke records as a teenager and who is now breaking them as a veteran as well. This is something we haven't see much in the history of tennis. People talk about how physical tennis is, but here he is at 31 winning two Grand Slams, right behind Federer.
We mustn't underestimate his talent, his ability to improve, to analyse things. For me, there is no reason to think he can't spend many more years on Tour.' ALSO READ: Juan Monaco, Juan Martin del Potro and more react to Rafael Nadal's win .