Nadal returned to action at the Davis Cup earlier this month and will now play at the Monte-Carlo Masters this week as he looks to defend his clay points from previous year and remain atop the rankings.
The 31-year-old 16-time Grand Slam victor is the top seed for the tournament at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, which begins today.
In 15 meetings on the surface, the 20-time major victor has just two wins to his name over the Spaniard - and the 31-year-old hinted that was part of his thinking when skipping the whole of the clay-court season.
Former world number one Novak Djokovic will link up with former coach Marian Vajda for the Monte Carlo Masters.
"Rafa has been more inactive, with fewer games than past year and a little less confidence because he is the type of player who thinks he has to play a lot of games to get right for the big moment", Moya said.
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Nadal is not the first player to question Federer's decision, with his compatriot Feliciano Lopez also describing it as a "pity". "But I would love to play against Rafa on the ground, at the best of five sets".
'It is as important as the grass or hard-court seasons'. Pictured: Roger Federer of Switzerland talks with Rafael Nadal of Spain during the award ceremony after the Men's singles final match on day eight of 2017 ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters at Qizhong Stadium in Shanghai, China, Oct. 15, 2017.
Despite that defeat in Melbourne, the Spaniard backed up his "King of Clay" nickname by winning his 10th titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros.
'It's one of my favourite tournaments in the world without a doubt and I'm just excited to be back. But they always feel like crumbs stolen from the giant's table.
'I'm looking to having good days of practice before the tournament starts and when the competition arrives I will be ready for it'.
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