Moya, Corretja Back Nadal To Contend Again; Corretja Wins Opener

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Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Carlos Moya and Alex Corretja have both backed Rafael Nadal, who is into the Beijing semifinals, to rediscover his best form and contend for Grand Slam titles again in 2016.

Speaking after his 6-4, 6-3 victory over Henri Leconte in the opening match of the inaugural Legends Cup in Palma, Mallorca, two-time Roland Garros runner-up Corretja spoke about Nadal, who now faces Fabio Fognini in Beijing – the first man ever to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam from two sets down.

‘It’s been a weird year for Rafa,’ said Corretja. ‘But I think he is on the way back. I saw his match at the US Open against Fognini and he was playing better, being more aggressive, taking the ball earlier.  He just let it slip away by losing his focus. That’s what’s happening that didn’t used to happen. If he can win some big matches at the end of this year he will be back on form at the beginning of next season.’

Nadal has recently revealed his struggles to translate his form on the practice court into results on the match court, a situation that Corretja can relate to.

‘That happens sometimes,’ he said. ‘It’s a lot of factors happening, making him lose the rhythm of competition. But I think if anyone can change that around it’s Rafael Nadal. It’s very important that he does it, for us in Spain, for tennis, for everyone around the world, and for Rafa himself.’

Close friend and fellow Mallorcan Moya is also confident that Nadal can find a way to transfer his strong practice form to the match court.

‘He just needs to win a couple of those tough matches, the ones he would always win in the past,’ he said. ‘He’s started losing those matches. It’s happened to all the players in the world but it’s a new situation for him. He’s healthy, which is the most important thing, but it means the problem is a mental thing. But I’m really sure he’s going to get over it next year. To get to No.1 again it could be tough because Novak is so strong, but for sure he will compete for Grand Slam titles again in 2016.

Palma resident Moya had been due to headline the field at the Legends Cup before an ankle sprain two weeks ago caused him to withdraw, much to his disappointment.

‘Indeed it is a huge shame for me not to be able to play,’ he said. ‘This is one of the few chances I have to play in my home town in front of my friends and family, and I was practising hard to be ready for this. But hopefully next year, I will be here and I will be healthy. The people of Mallorca will love this tennis so we will be back next year I am sure.’

In the second match of the evening session, Swede Thomas Enqvist took on 1987 Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash. It was a match that thrilled the packed crowd inside the newly opened Palma Sport & Tennis Club, with Enqvist the one to seal a 3-6, 6-1, 10-7 victory.

Friday’s order of play will see Enqvist take on 1995 French Open Champion Thomas Muster, followed by Corretja up against former World No.4, Tim Henman.

After the Legends Cup, the ATP Champions Tour moves on to Seoul (South Korea), Monterrey (Mexico), Verona and Modena (Italy), before arriving in London (England) in December.

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.