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​​Sebastian Korda: The rising US tennis star who is the ‘worst athlete in the family’



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Sebastian Korda might have knocked out a number of the world’s finest gamers and is getting ready for his first Australian Open quarterfinal, however the 22-year-old nonetheless says he’s the “worst athlete” in his household.

In reality, the young American has harder competitors than most, coming from a family stuffed with champions throughout two totally different sports activities.

Each of his mother and father are former tennis gamers. His dad, Petr, received the Australian Open in 1998, whereas his mom, Regina Rajchrtova, achieved a profession excessive rating of 26.

His sisters, Jessica and Nelly, are each skilled golf gamers – and superb ones at that.

Jessica has received six LPGA occasions in her profession, whereas Nelly received the Girls’s PGA Championship in 2021.

Talking after beating two-time finalist Daniil Medvedev in straight units within the third spherical on Friday, Korda served up a slice of self-deprecation.

“I don’t know what I’m going to be ranked,” he stated in his post-match interview on court docket.

“However my mother’s profession excessive was 26, my dad was two, my sister Nelly was No. 1, my older sister Jessica was six, so I’m positively the worst athlete within the household up to now!”

Korda comes from a family with rich sporting pedigree.

Korda, who’s at present world No. 31, is prone to stand up the rankings after a superb run in Melbourne.

After beating two-time Australian Open finalist Medvedev on Friday, he adopted it up with a hard-fought victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to achieve the quarterfinal stage for the primary time in his profession.

He wanted five-sets to get previous Hurkacz, although, together with a nail-biting, final-set tiebreak through which he relied on some superstition.

“The towel acquired me by means of it,” he laughed. “Each time I went to the towel, I received the purpose, so I simply saved going to it. My new buddy.”

Korda is a part of a brand new technology of American tennis gamers who’ve began making an impression on the game’s largest phases.

Korda is a former junior champion on the Australian Open and received his first, and up to now solely, ATP title two years in the past.

He additionally got here some extent away from defeating Novak Djokovic on the Adelaide Worldwide on January 8, demonstrating his means to carry out towards the perfect.

“The American gamers have pushed one another and helped one another to consider they will compete near that stage,” former participant turned broadcaster John McEnroe stated in a latest interview with Eurosport when discussing doable winners at Melbourne this yr.

“If I needed to choose one, I’d in all probability choose Sebastian Korda; he’s the youngest of that present prime group of Individuals and the one with probably the most upside proper now.”

Korda's sisters, Nelly Korda and Jessica, are both professional golfers.

Along with his gifted household, Korda may also lean on the assist of mentor Andre Agassi.

The eight-time grand slam champion has been serving to his younger compatriot for the final two years, throughout which he has turn out to be probably the most thrilling prospects on tour.

Korda stated Agassi has has been staying up all night time within the US to look at him play his video games in Melbourne and he’s grateful for the assist.

“He’s probably the most particular folks in my life. We began speaking throughout Covid in 2020. He’s been one of many largest elements in my rise,” Korda stated, in keeping with the ATP.

“Simply total, simply as a tennis participant, as a human being. We spend lots of time collectively. Yeah, he’s very particular to me.”

Korda will face Russian Karen Khachanov within the quarterfinals on Tuesday and, little question, his complete household shall be watching.

His sister Nelly, although, has no time for her little brother’s modesty.

“It’s full BS,” she advised reporters on the LPGA’s Hilton Grand Holidays Match of Champions on Saturday, when requested about her brother’s claims about being the worst within the household.

“Truthfully, he’s the perfect. His hand-eye coordination is unbelievable. His swing – I’m jealous of his swing really.

“It’s loopy. He’s a lefty. He’s a pure righty, however he performs golf lefty. He performed hockey lefty. I imply, he grew up enjoying hockey – he was fairly good at it, too.

“He skates actually properly, performs golf properly, performs tennis fantastically.”

Whereas it stays to be seen how he fares in Melbourne, Korda has all of the makings of the subsequent nice American star.