AS he prepared for a serve, Carlos Moya would still hear chants of “Go, Carlos!” from the Mall of Asia Arena crowd from some true-blue tennis fans who have known him since his heyday in the mid-1990s.
So while most of the spotlight in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) has fallen on today’s biggest stars, their predecessors have also gained an opportunity to their glory days in this innovative competition now in only its second year.
“It makes us feel like players again, even just for three weeks,” the 39-year-old Moya said. “It’s good to know the winning feeling again.”
The Spanish netter, who represents the Singapore Slammers in the legends singles, retired in 2010 after nurturing a career that saw him become world No. 1 and win the French Open in 1998.
Moya is one of the icons who have graced Manila with their presence along with Mark Philippoussis, Goran Ivanisevic, Marat Safin, and Fabrice Santoro.
And they don’t mind being in the shadows of their younger counterparts.
“I don’t even think about the past days. We just think about surviving each match,” said Ivanisevic, who’s the oldest player in the tournament at 44.
Still, they have been silently flashing their old – pun intended – form.
“It’s great to see the old (guys) pretty much in great shape: Mark, Carlos, myself, Marat – although he’s a bit injured – and Fabrice, who runs like a maniac,” Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, said. “It’s a group of pretty interesting older guys who still hit the ball well.”
But they feel their age once in a while.
Asked if he wanted to play in a super shootout had his UAE Royals tied with the Slammers after five sets on Tuesday, Ivanisevic refused.
“I don’t want to play more. This is enough,” the Croatian former World No. 2 netter said, drawing laughter from the press. “You want me to play more? Geez, you want to kill me.”
“I need to save my energy,” he added with a smile.