MADRID (AP) — Carlos Moya hopes his close relationship with Rafael Nadal will help convince him to play for Spain's Davis Cup team.
Moya was introduced Thursday as Spain's new Davis Cup captain, replacing Alex Corretja. Moya's first match in charge of the five-time champions will be the first-round World Group tie against Germany from Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
The 37-year-old Moya, winner of the 1998 French Open, said his friendship with Nadal could sway his fellow Mallorcan to play against Germany. "Without a doubt he's one of my great friends, but we'll have to talk and see what he's thinking," Moya said. "It's a bit of an unknown because there's no point in talking Davis Cup with him if he's injured."
Nadal, whose involvement in the Davis Cup has been limited by injuries, returned to lead Spain to a 5-0 sweep of Ukraine last month to remain in the elite World Group. It was the 27-year-old Nadal's first Davis Cup series since helping beat Argentina in the 2011 final. Without Nadal on the team, Corretja guided Spain to the 2012 final.
Moya said Nadal's participation shouldn't impact the matchup against Germany as Spain has three other players in the top 20 — David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo. "It's a difficult tie but we are Spain and Spain, right now, is a top world tennis power," Moya said. "I love the talent we have coming up in our youth system but this is a competition we want to win in 2014."
Moya knows most of Spain's players from his own impressive career that saw him become the first Spaniard to reach No. 1 in the rankings in 1999. Moya, who won 20 ATP titles, said his sweetest victory was securing the winning point in the 2004 Davis Cup final against the United States in front of 27,000 spectators in Seville.
"Being captain is as close as possible as I can get to feeling that again," Moya said. "After so many years of being a player it was the next natural step to take. I'll be involved with a lot of my ex-teammates who I played with and against, plus I also played against most of the players we'll face in Davis Cup, so I know our rivals and that's a good bonus to have."
Spain has dominated Davis Cup play since winning the first of five titles in 2000, including three since 2008.