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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Wimbledon: Keeping up with the Kordas, on the greens and courts

Korda’s two daughters Jessica and Nelly are star golfers, the latter the current World No.1. And his youngest child, Sebastian, on Friday reached the fourth round of the Wimbledon Championship, on debut.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai |
Updated: July 4, 2021 7:43:22 am
Father Petr Korda and Sebastian Korda (ATPTour)

Like American Richard Williams mentored his daughters Venus and Serena to become the best women tennis players in the world at different points in time, Czech Petr Korda, the former tennis World No.2 and the 1998 Australian Open winner, has groomed his three children to excel in their respective sports.

Korda’s two daughters Jessica and Nelly are star golfers, the latter the current World No.1. And his youngest child, Sebastian, on Friday reached the fourth round of the Wimbledon Championship, on debut. He played on the fabled Centre Court for the first time in his career to beat 22nd seed Brit Dan Evans. The win helped him emulate a feat his father had accomplished 26 years ago, winning on his Centre Court debut.

The entire family keeps tabs on each other’s success.

Petr-Regina, the parents

The 53-year-old Petr won 10 tour singles titles that included the 1998 Australian Open title. He had also reached the 1992 French Open final, losing to Jim Courier. In doubles, he reached two Major finals, winning the 1996 Australian Open title with Stefan Edberg, and losing the 1990 French Open final with Goran Ivanisevic.

His wife, Regina Rajchrtová, is also a former professional tennis player. She had reached the 1990 French Open doubles quarterfinal, and reached a career high singles rank of 26 in 1991. She also competed at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, representing the erstwhile Czechoslovakia.

The family later immigrated to the United States.

Sebastian, World No.50, tennis

A few days shy of his 21st birthday, Sebastian is the youngest in the family, and the only child to take up tennis. He stands at 6-foot-5, and his rise in the sport has been quick. He started the year ranked 119 but currently sits on 50.

By reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon he joined a list of just eight men’s players to have reached this stage of both the French Open (2020) and Wimbledon before their 21st birthday. Of these five have gone on to win at least one Slam (including the Big 3 and Lleyton Hewitt and Marin Cilic).

Sebastian had also won the 2018 Junior Australian Open title, 20 years after his father won the senior event. That was also a stepping stone in what has been a carefully designed career path.

He skipped the Melbourne event this year, choosing instead to play a few Challengers to build up his rank. He ended up winning an event in Quimper, France, which saw him break into the top 100 for the first time.

He’s also decided to skip the Olympics this year in favour of playing tour events (what his manager Patricio Apey described as “lower-hanging fruit” to The New York Times) to build his rank and experience.

Nelly, World No.1, golf

The middle child in the Korda family, at 22, won her first career major at the Women’s PGA Championship in Atlanta last week. Sebastian watched that win from his hotel in London.

“My sister just won her first major and is the No.1 golfer in the world, so it’s super inspiring. It’s crazy,” he said in a press conference.

The win took her to the World No.1 position, and made her the spearhead for the American golf team at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Jessica, World No.13 golf

At 28, Jessica is the eldest Korda-sibling. She’s been ranked as high as 11 in the world, but currently sits in 13th place. She has won 13 LPGA tour events, the first being the Australian Open in 2012, – the golf namesake event for the tennis majors Petr and Sebastian won in senior and junior category respectively.

She too will compete at the Olympics with Nelly.

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