Carlos Moyà: Athlete

updated 05/10/1999 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/1999 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Even before he could really swing a racquet, Spanish tennis ace Carlos Moyà was causing a racket. "When we practiced at a sports center, the girls would always stop to look at him," says his pal Juan Bosch, who first met Moyà at a tennis camp when both were 11 and growing up in Majorca, Spain. Even then, "people talked about how good-looking Carlos was." And as his fame has grown—at 22, Moyà has won five singles titles and $4.5 million in prize money—so has his circle of female fans. "In Spain especially," says fellow tennis star Martina Hingis. "He's like King Carlos there." In Australia and Italy too, says his friend Benito Perez-Barbadillo, who handles European public relations for the ATP Tour, "the girls go crazy for him."

Despite the appreciative glances, Moyà, who moved to Barcelona at 17, is offhand about his looks. When he wants to impress a woman, he says, "I just take a shower and get dressed." Casually garbed at all times—"nothing too elegant, never"—he spends most days in shorts and tennis shoes. He shuns sunscreen and, because he favors a bandanna to keep his hair out of his eyes during play, has a stark tan line across his forehead.

Even that famous hair—shoulder-length since childhood—doesn't get much pampering. "I heard it's not good to wash it every day, but I do," he says. "The first shampoo I see, I buy." He does admit that when he had his locks sheared off for a mandatory stint in the military reserves in 1997, he was traumatized: "I had never seen myself like that before." Nor had his mother, Pilar, a homemaker who lives in Majorca with his father, Andres, the owner of an interior-design shop. "She told me to have it long again," he says.

Moyà, who is single, is characteristically cavalier about the rest of his grooming routine as well. He considers deodorant and bath gel indispensable but doesn't care about their brands. ("He uses what is available in the hotels," says Bosch.) And thanks to hours of daily tennis plus weight training, the 6'3" star says he eats "whatever I want at any time. I also love candies."

Though not given to primping, "when there's a mirror, I look," says Moyà. And does he like what he sees? "It depends on the situation," he says. "When I get up in the morning, I'm scared. My hair is everywhere."

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