Petr and Sebastian Korda

Five things to know about Sebastian Korda ahead of his Roland Garros date with Rafael Nadal

Sebastian Korda will face his idol Rafael Nadal for a spot in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros after his straight-sets victory over Pedro Martinez in the third round. 

Tennishead looks at five things you should know about the 20-year-old American.

1) Korda won the junior title at the Australian Open in 2018 

Korda beat Taiwanese player Jason Tseng in the final aged 17 and made his main draw debut in New York in the same year, where he lost to fellow American Frances Tiafoe in three sets.

2) From Ice Hockey to Tennis

From the age of three, Korda grew up playing competitive junior ice hockey as well as having a golf handicap of +2 before making the switch to tennis after accompanying his father to the US Open in 2009.

“I went to the US Open with my dad and Radek Stepanek in 2009. He [Stepanek] made round of 16 I think. He played Djokovic on Ashe 10.30 at night, totally packed. I thought it was the coolest thing. Went home, came back the next year and said, ‘this is exactly what I want to do’. The rest is history,” he said.

3) Following in his father’s footsteps 

Sebastian Korda is striving to emulate his father, Petra Korda, who won the 1998 Australian Open and came runner up at Roland Garros in 1992, reaching a career high ranking of number two in February 1998. The former Australian Open champion is also the coach of the 20-year-old.

4) Korda had not won a tour-level match before Roland Garros

The World No 213 had not won a single match on tour this year before reaching the fourth round of Roland Garros, where he will face his idol Rafael Nadal for a spot in the quarter finals.

“He’s one of the reasons I play tennis. Just watching him play, unbelievable competitor. Just from him I have the
never-give-up mentality. Whenever I’m on court, I try to be like him,” he said.

“Growing up, I named my cat Rafa after him. That says a lot about how much I love the guy.”

5) Korda becomes youngest American to reach the fourth-round of a Grand Slam since 1991

The 20-year-old American is already making history as he becomes the youngest American to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam since Michael Chang at Roland Garros in 1991.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.