Petr Korda on Saturday night set the report on an arcade sport in the course of the Western & Southern Open gamers’ lounge. However that’s the solely purpose the previous World No. 2 is getting consideration this week, and that’s simply the way in which he likes it.
As an alternative, Sebastian Korda is now the star Korda within the tennis world moderately than his father and mom, former World No. 26 Regina Rajchrtova. The 21-year-old performed shuffleboard on Sunday morning earlier than starting his pre-event media tour. Round him have been gamers having fun with a ping pong desk, a billiards desk, and several other arcade machines.
With few exceptions, Korda was the largest participant within the room at 6’5”. It’s a huge change, as a decade in the past the American was the smallest on the scene. When he was a child, “Seb” went to tournaments along with his father, who coached Czech star Radek Stepanek. Now, Petr coaches Seb, who is likely one of the greatest points of interest at this ATP Masters 1000 occasion.
The event had him signal posters and tennis balls to be given away earlier than the #NextGenATP participant was whisked away for interviews. That is Korda’s first main-draw look in Cincinnati, as final 12 months the event was held in New York because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However particularly in the USA, he’s proving to be a star.
Since qualifying for his first Masters 1000 occasion final 12 months because the World No. 225, Korda has rapidly ascended into the Prime 50 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. In Parma, he lifted his first ATP Tour trophy.
A reporter from the event defined to Korda that though she had spoken to him earlier than and knew his life story, she needed to ask basic questions for a video piece.
“I’m used to it,” Korda mentioned, cracking a smile.
Korda speaks to the media forward of the Western & Southern Open.
The 21-year-old is disarming in interviews, fast to snicker and benefit from the expertise, it doesn’t matter what questions come his method. Korda did three video interviews about 50 metres from the follow courts, the place his rivals have been making ready for the event. However the World No. 45 was utterly relaxed. That follows recommendation he has gotten from one in every of his mentors, former World No. 1 Andre Agassi.
“He at all times tells me at any time when I play like a giant match or one thing to at all times get pleasure from it, and at any time when I am enjoying a event for the primary time, to actually get pleasure from it,” Korda mentioned.
The Floridian may be very conscious of his environment. When he sat down for his remaining video interview, he observed the reporter’s identify, “Seb”, on his credential.
“Seb!” Korda exclaimed. “I’ve obtained to get that on my credential.”
It was the kind of consideration to element Korda reveals on court docket, too.
Petr Korda watches his son practise on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Whereas up to now Korda obtained many questions on his father, Seb is now usually requested about his sisters, golf stars Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda. Nelly not too long ago reached World No. 1 on the LPGA Tour and received the gold medal on the Tokyo Olympics.
Seb, who’s in a bunch chat along with his siblings, has not seen Nelly since her huge victory, however will get to spend time together with her after this week’s event in Cincinnati.
As his tour went on, “thanks” turned the most-used phrase of the morning. Korda thanked the reporters he spoke with in addition to the volunteers who opened the gate and door for him as he walked again from his interviews.
The American walked by the gamers’ lounge and up three flights of stairs to the room by which he did a Zoom press convention. Within the hallway resulting in that room, former World No. 1 Andy Murray handed by. The Scot gave his younger colleague a fist bump and quipped that he noticed Petr enjoying the Pac-Man sport the evening earlier than. Seb proudly replied that his dad held the report.
After almost an hour of media, Korda returned to the lounge, nonetheless bustling with exercise as gamers loved the video games. Later within the day, he practised with Murray. Each of his coaches — his father and Dean Goldfine — have been on court docket.
Sebastian Korda trains with Andy Murray on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Now, Korda is prepared for the event, by which he’ll play Serbian Laslo Djere within the first spherical. If the American wins, he’ll play second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, with whom he shares an agent.
“It is a tough draw,” Korda mentioned. “However I am at all times up for it and it is thrilling.”
Korda has excited loads of followers along with his fast rise. He has climbed so rapidly that one reporter earlier within the day talked about to Seb that he’s “being constructed as the following huge factor”. How does that sit with him?
“It makes me wish to work tougher,” Korda mentioned.
The 21-year-old is not the child following his dad round. Now it’s his time to shine.