Carlos Moya on Milos Raonic: "One of the most professional", interviewed by @flaberne in today's l'Équipe print.
In 1997 you reached the final of the Australian Open having only won two matches previously at Slams. Will we ever see that again?
"Yes, why not? But maybe not in the next five years because of the guys who are at the top."
That year, you did well taking out the title holder Boris Becker in the first round ...
"There's a tendency to forget that I was 25th in the world at that time. But because there were only 16 seeds, that sort of first round was possible. What helped was that I'd beaten Becker (ranked 6th) two months before at Bercy. That removed any complexes I had. I'd also just made the final in Sydney. I felt good."
Milos Raonic has just won the Brisbane tournament and he has yet to lose a set in Melbourne. He's scaring everyone a bit here ...
"So much the better (smiles). The fact that he's beaten Roger (Federer) in a final, that's a strong sign for me. It's not something everyone does. Milos is the only player born in the 1990s to have beaten Roger twice (the first time was at Bercy in 2014). He's also beaten Rafa (Nadal) at Indian Wells last year and Murray three times. He's only missing Djokovic."
He's also missing beating those players at a Slam. That's why there's excitement about a possible upset against Wawrinka who's 4-0 in their head-to-head.
"Milos is twenty-five. You need to go step-by-step. He's not going to suddenly win a Slam."
You don't imagine he can win this tournament?
"I didn't say that (smiles). But what Milos needs to prove is that he can beat those guys one after the other in the same tournament. And that is very hard."
Why did you decide to join Raonic's team?
"It was a good offer to start in this profession. And the Milos project inspired me. He has a clear objective: becoming number one in the world. At the moment, especially because of injuries, Milos hasn't been able to reach his maximum potential, and that's good. It pleases me that Milos is mature. He knows what he wants."
How many tournaments will you be at for him?
"Fifteen weeks, including the four Slams. I didn't want to be away from home too much. I have three young children. But I know everything will be done properly in my absence because he has a solid team around him, especially with Riccardo Piatti (ex-coach of Ljubicic and Gasquet)."
What's impressed you the most about Raonic since you've been with him?
"He's one of the most professional guys I've met. He's hyper invested: on the court, in the gym, when he recuperates ... He's 100% involved in his thing."
When you were playing, would you have liked a former number one travelling with you? If yes, whom would you have chosen?
"Sure I would have liked it. I'd like it to have been Edberg, even if our games were very different."
"One often hears that Raonic's game is boring, that he looks robotic when he plays. Can those comments affect him?
"No, no, no, I don't think so. If you watched his match against Troicki, I don't think it was boring. Those comments don't bother me. You can even use them. If our opponents start off thinking that it's going to be a slog of a match, not fun, without rhythm, that's a weapon for us."
How many players asked you to coach them before Raonic?
"A few. but either it wasn't the right time, or they were asking me to travel too many weeks."
We've been hearing a constant rumour for the last two years about a Moya-Nadal team-up ...
"That's come from the media and John McEnroe. But we've never spoken even once about that possibility. I'm convinced Rafa will end his career with Toni and with the same team that's been around him for years. I know Rafa well and I think he'd think it unfair to separate himself from Toni because things aren't going so well. I've never looked to be a part of his team. We're good friends, we often eat together, and we trained together at Christmas. That's all."
Do you think he'll win another Slam?
"Of course I believe that. He's not yet thirty.He needs to improve in certain areas and he knows that. He works. It's a normal process: first of all, you try the new things in practice, and then you apply them in a match, under pressure, and then you don't think about them any more. It worked at the end of last season, but not here. You can see he wants to play more inside the baseline, Against Verdasco, he was a metre inside the baseline, but he wasn't doing any damage. Positioning isn't everything. Being a metre inside the baseline and pushing the ball, that's not the answer. Right now, Rafa is a bit confused when he plays under pressure. He should develop this game without thinking. Right now, we see him thinking."