Tennis Prose




Jan/21

10

Has the savior of American tennis arrived?

If you are watching Delray Beach tennis this week on Tennis Channel, one young player has stood out.

He is six foot five and 20 years old and after some ups and downs and glitches in his progression, he is now ranked in the top 175. He made the fourth round at Roland Garros in late 2020, beating John Isner along the way before falling to his hero Rafael Nadal.

This unique player is coached by his father, who won the 1998 Australian Open and was ranked no. 2 in the world. He has an interesting and complete arsenal, power off both wings, excellent fluid movement, strong net game, a lethal easy flowing serve that can win easy and cheap points. But he also has an impressive low-key demeanor and in-charge of the situation confidence that does not offend. It makes you think, Wow, this kid looks like he belongs on the big stage, he looks like he can actually win some big events. His fine play commands you to ponder … could he be the rare, evasive diamond US tennis has been waiting for for a couple of decades now?

This young player also had the opportunity in late 2020 to spend a week with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in Las Vegas, because his father, who was a doubles partner with Agassi, was able to facilitate the unique coaching experience. The kid thrived from the multi dimensional experience, expressing awe and inspiration upon learning the valuable wisdom Agassi revealed to him about his very different, out of the box competitive thought patterns.

Now this young player is emerging right before our eyes. He dismissed last year’s Delray quarterfinalist Soonwoo Kwon and yesterday impressively came from a set down to beat another young American rising force Tommy Paul. Next up he will face a rematch with John Isner.

This young player has been so impressive for the last several months in so many important ways, that you have to start wondering seriously if the long overdue savior of American tennis has finally arrived?

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9 comments

  • Facing Hewitt · January 11, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Seb Korda is an excellent player. Top 10? Too early to tell, but he will be consistent at reaching slam quarterfinals for sure, he seems to be very level headed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Facing Hewitt, nice moniker! Korda made 4th round in his very first Grand Slam attempt. It took Federer until his fifth trip to a major to make the fourth round (at FO 2000)! It took Nadal five times to make a fourth round at 2005 AO. Djokovic needed six times – he made QF at 2006 FO. So as hard as it is to believe, Korda has already surpassed Fed, Rafa and Novak in one important category. He is only going to get a lot better and I think he will inflict major damages on the ATP Tour. Thanks for your comment, welcome to the site.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 11, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Korda scores another headline making, statement making win in Delray by dismissing Isner for the second time in two tries 64 46 63. Was 0-40 in last game but won five straight points to clinch it. Korda is the savior of American tennis, he will be top 5 at least. Moves perfect, has every shot, has the improvisation shots, like a full run backhand rip winner up the line on the line. A short hop backhand block back winner up the line off an Isner kill shot. Big serving under pressure. Complete arsenal combined with veteran mature poise and composure, no whining or griping to his box or after a key miss. Just perfect competitive spirit at all times. He and Nakashima are going straight to the top, but I like Korda a little more right now. Nakashima has stagnated a bit and is weak on clay.

  • Jimmy · January 13, 2021 at 4:58 am

    He’s playing some good tennis at the moment but people really need to stop hyping up every prospect that makes good results. I’ve heard and read similar articles about countless of young players. Only time will tell but it’s way too early to call him the savior.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 13, 2021 at 7:57 am

    I did not label him the savior, I merely asked if he could be the savior. My opinion – and it’s been a long long time since any American impressed this much – is yes.

  • Jimmy · January 13, 2021 at 11:04 am

    You did label him the savior. In one of your post you say “Korda is the savior of American tennis, he will be top 5 at least”. To me that’s being way too optimistic.

    A few years ago people were high on both Taylor Fritz and Tiafoe, not so much anymore. Korda and Nakashama are just the latest hot American prospect that people speak highly of.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 13, 2021 at 11:54 am

    You are entitled to your predictions for Korda’s best ranking potential. Time will tell. I have observed Korda play and train many times since he’s 14 and I know his father reasonably well, many interviews and a few conversations. He’s nothing short of a tennis guru wizard, as impressive as any great player I’ve ever been lucky to know and interview. One of the best coaches in the world. Fritz and Tiafoe are both doing very well, Tiafoe has been lagging lately but he could reawaken at any time. Fritz is on path to the top ten or higher. Nakashima has stagnated lately but he made tremendously impressive strides in 2020 and will continue to do so. American tennis is in very good shape right now. Don’t forget about JJ Wolfe, Michael Mmoh, Opelka, Paul, Escobedo.

  • catherine · January 14, 2021 at 5:59 am

    Sebastian Korda on hitting with Steffi Graf during his trip to Vegas:

    “I was on court a couple of times with Steffi, I didn’t want to play with her, I was way too intimidated by her. Her forehand crosscourt was just killing me so I was like ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 14, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Sounds like Jim Courier after he hit with Seles at Bollettieris back when they were teens. Courier supposedly told Nick he never wanted to hit with Seles ever again. Steffi should come back and win a few more majors. Or at least a mixed doubles slam with Korda.

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