Rafa taking 10-tative approach

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-01 06:55

PARIS - Carlos Moya has told Rafael Nadal to ignore all talk of a 10th French Open title, but said the double-digit target is causing pressure for his fellow Spaniard.

Moya, the 1998 Roland Garros champion and also a former world No 1, is part of Nadal's coaching team in Paris and is keen to keep expectations in check.

"Clearly there is a bit of pressure. We don't pay much attention to making it number 10," said 40-year-old Moya.

"We take it into account but we try to ignore it. We try to coexist as best as possible with the pressure."

Moya works alongside Nadal's longtime coach, his uncle Toni, as well as Francesco Roig.

When Toni steps down from the team at the end of the year, Moya will assume all coaching control of his fellow Mallorcan.

Moya and Nadal have been close friends for years and he knows the powers that the nine-time Roland Garros champion possesses, having got a close look in Paris 10 years ago.

Nadal beat him in the quarterfinals in what proved to be Moya's last match on Philippe Chatrier Court.

"I remember the beating that I took. He was playing very well and I was playing well too, but his level was very high," recalled Moya.

"I was out of my reach and it was my last match on Philippe Chatrier."

Moya revealed that in training they have been working on perfecting Nadal's second serve to back up the 30-year-old's fierce ground strokes.

"We have been working quite a bit on the second service, trying to be more aggressive. This is what we have been working on the most," said Moya.

Nadal, who won the last of his 14 majors at the 2014 French Open, is the overwhelming favorite for a 10th Roland Garros this year.

Moya is confident Nadal is in the right shape to achieve the goal having won clay titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid already this year.

"For me, the preparation has been ideal, he has trained well and is physically healthy.

"Victories are needed, no one assures you of playing well, but you have to be able to know that you can do it."

Moya also believes defending champion Novak Djokovic made a smart move in bringing in eight-time major champion Andre Agassi as his coach, albeit for just the first week in Paris.

"I think he can help. Agassi solved difficult situations on the court when he was a player," said Moya.

"Djokovic hopes that Andre will help him solve his difficult situations and be able to help him return to his best level.

"I figured he was going to take on a powerful name, but I do not know what kind of relationship they're going to have. Agassi will not be in Paris in the second week.

"Let's see if he gets Agassi on the circuit bit by bit."

Agence France - Presse

(China Daily 06/01/2017 page24)

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