Tennis Prose




May/24

13

Do Tennis Greats Want Their Records Broken?

Yesterday, the dominant LPGA golfer Nelly Korda’s attempt to win a record sixth straight pro golf tournament fell short as she lost by 14 strokes to Rose Zhang at the Cognizant Founders Cup in NJ. So Korda, the 25 year old daughter of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, still shares the record of winning five straight LPGA tournaments with Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez.

After her quest failed, Korda said something very interesting. Following her first defeat in four months, Korda revealed she is still somewhat surprised about managing to win five pro golf tournaments in a row: “Yeah, gosh, hasn’t even sunk in. Probably maybe now or maybe in like ten, fifteen years it’ll sink in. Hopefully someone beats it one day. But just to do that with all the competition out here is super, super rewarding with how much work that I’ve put in. So I think to get a streak like that in any sport in general is amazing with the amount of talent that I feel like every athlete has in their sport. Just an amazing feeling and hopefully one day it’ll sink in.”

Korda actually said she hopes somebody beats her record some day.

I have never heard an elite tennis champion ever say he or she hopes their outstanding records get broken someday. I have never heard Rafa Nadal say he hopes someone wins 14 or 15 French Opens. I never heard peak prime Roger Federer say he hopes someone comes along and smashes all his records. I never heard Novak Djokovic say he would like to see someone surpass his total Grand Slam count and weeks at no. 1.

But Nelly Korda actually hopes to see someone better come along and push her aside. This is better for the sport, to see the level of excellence of the champions improving into the future. It’s a change of pace to see a super champion prioritize the future of their sport above their own individual greatness.

I don’t have much memory of tennis champions talking about preserving their own records. This Pete Sampras quote is the only one I can remember. “When I saw Roger do it at Wimbledon, I was resigned to it,” said Sampras. “Sure, I would have loved for my fourteen to last forever but it was meant to be broken. Roger not only passed me, he got seventeen, Rafa fourteen and Novak eleven. Three guys could pass me in one decade or pretty much fifteen years time. It’s incredible. I didn’t see it coming. Thought my fourteen was going to last forever.”

Nelly Korda Biofile interview link

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