Tennis Prose



Biofile: Petr Korda Interview

Status: Former 1998 Australian Open champion. Winner of ten ATP singles titles including 1993 Grand Slam Cup. Son Sebastian just won the Australian Open boys junior title at age 17.

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 160

DOB: January 23, 1968 In: Prague, Czechoslovakia

Residence: Bradenton, FL

Tennis Heroes: “McEnroe, Connors – both lefties. And Lendl.”

Nickname: “Woody.”

Early Tennis Memory: “Goes way back to ’71 or ’72 when I started. I remember I was playing with some friends on the back court and they want to make a picture on the court with my dad. And he had to pull the net down because the net was higher than I was [smiles].”

Pre-Match Feeling: “My mindset? Geez, I don’t even remember, how was it? Just always put some kind of strategy of what I wanted to do.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning Grand Slam. The greatest moment for me was discovering my wife was pregnant right before the Grand Slam. That’s what carried me during the stretch in Doha and Australian Open.”

Most Painful Moment: “There’s a lot of painful stuff. I’d say second half of the year ’98 and beginning of ’99. (What happened, injury?) No. (Oh, the…) Okay.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “I always like to laugh. Because if you’re laughing, you’re having fun. You can achieve more. Anything any day, I had something I could laugh, spend the time to share some smiles with my friends. Important for me. (Like when you did the scissors kick?) That was something I’d done without any purpose. But when I heard the crowd went Wooooo!, I said, Okay, if I win the fourth set against Pete (Sampras), I’m gonna do it again (Petr won the fourth set but lost 6-4 in the fifth). Then when I came to the States, everybody was talking about it. Kind of felt, like, bad, geez, they don’t talk about tennis, they talk about my scissor kick. But I just kept on doing on the special occasions. But some players took like it was offending, against them. But it was something to show people I was having fun on the courts. And you show some moments. They (are) the one that pay for the tickets. They want to see something they will be talking about back home.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “There’s a lot of guys. I remember – because we have a show in Monte Carlo – I don’t know if we still have it and they do a show and there was one Brazilian guy who could imitate anyone. What was his name? He had the curly hair. He was playing with a Prince racquet. He retired in around 2004. I think he was the captain of the Davis Cup. He could imitate anyone on the court and it was fun.”

Toughest Competitors Encountered: “Always the guys from the top 10.”

Favorite Players To Watch: “I don’t watch than many players these days. If I would have to pick – Federer. He’s playing the full, complete game for me. That’s what I love. You see everything – stay back, creating shots, anything.”

Favorite Meal: “Italian. Whatever is Italian.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Rum raisin.”

Closest Friends From Tennis: “My friends are outside of tennis.”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “When I was playing, I had no holidays. It was impossible with the season, 11 months long. Soon as you put the racquets in the corner, you want to enjoy. You don’t have any needs to go on holiday. You hope you can sit at home and play with kids and be with the folks at home.”

Best You Ever Felt On Court: “Wimbledon junior final doubles. I played with Tomas Carbonell and we played against a Canadian guy and a guy from Australia. I lost one return. And I felt the best on the court. You thought I was going to tell you the Australian Open final or the five-setter with Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. Those were good matches. But you asked me the match when I felt the best and that was the best. I lost one return. In the final of Wimbledon, 6-1 6-0. And maybe Czech championship under 18, which was at the time the prime tournament for us. With the guy, I lost the first game then I won 12 games in a row. That’s one of my top tennis times. Always the starting point, which means more than the ending point.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “I like people, honest people. That’s the way I am. I don’t like somebody playing games with me, they take you from left to right and they think you’re a complete dummy. I like to be hit directly in the face, not under the belt. That’s probably how I would describe it like.”

Career Accomplishments: Won the 1998 Australian Open by defeating Marcelo Rios 62 62 62; Achieved a career-high ATP singles ranking of #2 in 1998; Won the Australian Open doubles title in 1996 with Stefan Edberg; Finalist at 1992 Roland Garros in singles (lost to Courier) and doubles in 1990 (with Ivanisevic); Compiled a career W-L record of 410-248, Daughter Jessica won the Australian Open major golf tournament in 2012. Daughter Nelly is also a rising star on the LPGA Tour.

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1 comment

  • Guillermo · January 29, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I love this piece! Great insight!

    I will send you an email shortly.

    All the best, Guillermo



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