Carlos Moya Tops Idol Ivan Lendl For His 5th Champions Tour Title
By Steve Dorsey
Carlos Moya’s professional tennis career was dealt a blow two years ago when a foot injury forced his retirement from the ATP World Tour. But Moya, who captured 20 ATP World Tour titles, has made a comeback of sorts on the ATP Champions Tour.
Moya defeated eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl, his boyhood idol, 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center to claim his fifth title since joining the ATP Champions Tour last year.
“It was a strange feeling to see him across the net. I used to watch him a lot,” Moya, 35, said of Lendl, who turns 52 next week. “He played great.”
Moya, who finished the 2011 Champions Tour ranked No. 1, won all four of his matches in the eight-player tournament that was part of this week’s Delray Beach ITC. The 1998 French Open champion lost only one set in his four matches contested here. His match again Lendl fulfilled one of his wishes when he arrived in Delray last week.
“Lendl is one of the all-time greats, and he made history,” Moya said. “This is what makes the Champions Tour unique, being able to bridge the generations. It is a dream for me (to play Lendl), and hopefully McEnroe as well one day. It’s amazing to look up to them for so long and then to be on the same court with them. I have so many memories of watching (Lendl) when I was a kid, and I have so much respect for what he did and everything he achieved. He changed the game.”
Moya became the first player to punch his ticket for a spot in the finals when he defeated Aaron Krickstein in straight sets Sunday
afternoon to finish pool play with a 3-0 record.
Moya’s 6-4, 6-4 win against Krickstein clinched the No. 1 position in the Group B standings. It was Moya’s third match in as many days, but he had Monday off to rest for Tuesday’s final against Lendl.
Michael Chang, who lost to Moya in straight sets last Saturday in pool play, defeated Mikael Pernfors 7-6, 3-6, 13-11 in the third-place match of the Champions Tour tournament.