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#NEXTGEN Focus: Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda is currently ranked 281 in the ATP, just off his career high best of 273. The 19 year old won the 2018 Australian Open junior title and won a set off from Frances Tiafoe in the first round at the 2018 New York Open. Other than those high profile moments, it’s mostly been a grind in the minor leagues for Sebi. His dad Petr Korda, the former ATP no. 2 and 1998 Australian Open champ, who registered six career wins against Pete Sampras, took time out to discuss his son’s budding professional career…

Question: Big start last year, winning the Australian Open boys title, then in February, as a wildcard, Sebi won a set from Tiafoe and almost pulled off the three-set upset and then soon after Tiafoe won Delray Beach for his first ATP title. But since then it’s been a slow process. How would you assess Sebi’s progress?

Petr Korda: “You know, it’s some of them, they have slower starts, some have a faster start. Obviously, he’s dealing with his growth, he grew another two inches since coming back from 2018 Australia. It kind of offset him with his movement. But he’s still nineteen years old, there’s still a lot to be learned. Plus tennis had bodies that make very special moves in tennis in changing the rules how to get into the tournament. So they make it very difficult. So they wipe out a lot of the young players.”

Question: He’s done well this year in Futures and some Challengers, winning record on the year (33-18), gradually rising and learning?

Petr Korda: “He’s doing what he likes to do. He likes to play tennis. They went to Turkey, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan. So he’s learning tennis from every corner.”

Question: Do you feel his breakthrough is coming soon?

Petr Korda: “I’m gonna watch for the people. I’m happy where he’s at. He’s still ahead of my expectations. And I think you’re not gonna see him excel like Zverev. Because they have the better chances to get into the tournaments. Playing more wildcards and playing, I call it, the bigger guys, to learn. Sebi will continue on the Challenger Tour and hopefully get some wildcards into some of the bigger tournaments. And learn what the Challenger and better tournaments are all about. It’s a learning experience that not many people understand. You have to first learn.”

Question: His ranking is just about at a career high now?

Petr Korda: “I don’t know. I’m sorry, I’m probably bad parent, I don’t pay attention to where they are [smiles]. For me, what is most important, all my kids, what they are doing, they enjoy it. And I know once the hard work will pay off. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So it’s a lot of years hopefully with some bad days and the good days.”

Question: What do you think Sebi needs to work on to get his game to the next level?

Petr Korda: “Get the experience. Get the experience – very important. Look at Nadal, every year he’s improving in something. Until you say you’re done, you still have a chance to improve something.”

Update: Korda reached another Challenger final last month, losing in the final to Evgeny Donskoy 6-7. 6-3, 5-7 in the third. Earlier this year he lost in three Challenger finals in Turkey, each time to the same player Dmitry Popko, each time in three sets, 3-6, 4-6 and 5-7 in the third. His most recent tournament was in late July/August at the Lexington Challenger, where he lost to JC Aragone in the second round R 32.

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  • Vijay · August 13, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    I like this kid. Big serve, easy power. So often, it doesn’t seem to be difficult for him. And then he makes a bunch of errors. I think cleaning that up and getting more consistent will see him make a big jump. He’s fortunate that his dad is so supportive and understands the aspects of the sport beyond technique and tactics.

    Thanks for the interview Scoop. Very insightful.

  • Dan Markowitz · August 13, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Petr Korda really seems like a good dad. Nicest thing he said is that he just wants to see his kids happy.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 13, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    The Kordas are a rare combo of father son duos that is succeeding in the pros, Zverev is the only other I can think of. Petr Korda is as much a magician as Richard Williams if not more so.



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