Carlos Moya followed in the footsteps of fellow Spaniard Sergi Bruguera to become Roland Garros champion in 1998.
Tall and dashing, bandana-clad Moya was more than just a clay-courter. Unfailingly polite, he became a crowd pleaser with his desire to maximise his natural talent and thrived on confidence.
By improving his attacking instincts, to complement well placed serving and a potent forehand, Moya reached the 1997 Australian Open final – losing to Pete Sampras 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Four of his 20 career titles came on hard courts, including at 2002 Cincinnati (d. Hewitt).
Moya won the first of his three ATP Masters Series titles at Monte-Carlo in 1998, his best year, when he captured his lone major championship title in Paris with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Alex Corretja. His 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final win over Marcelo Rios ranks as one of his best memories. Shortly after his 23rd birthday, he reached the US Open semi-finals (l. to Philippoussis) and finished runner-up at the ATP World Tour Championships, despite holding a two-sets-to-love lead against Corretja.
Four months later, he briefly held the World No. 1 ranking. But a stress fracture in his lower back at the 1999 US Open dented his considerable powers. Moya went on to win a further 15 titles, but he made just another five major quarter-final appearances – including at 2003-04, ’07 Roland Garros.
Arguably, his greatest moment came for Spain, before a record crowd in Seville, at the 2004 Davis Cup final. Beating Mardy Fish on the opening day, Moya topped Andy Roddick to secure a 3-2 win.
A nagging foot injury ended his career on 17 November 2010. He is now World No. 1, Rafael Nadal’s coach.
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