Sebastian is keeping up with the Kordashians! Son of Grand Slam-winning tennis star Petra is out to emulate his famous father when he takes on Rafa Nadal… while daughters Nelly and Jessica close in on golfing glory
- Sebastian faces his idol Rafael Nadal in round four of Roland Garros on Sunday
- Nelly and Jessica are competing in a tournament in New Jersey on the same day
- Petr was very conscious about not coaching his children for their whole careers
Petr Korda and his wife Regina have a big day of TV sports watching ahead of them on Sunday after they wake up on the west coast of Florida.
Then it will be time to see how their daughters, Nelly and Jessica, progress in the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, taking place in New Jersey.
The Korda clan: Sebastian pictured with his golfing sisters Nelly (right) and Jessica (left)
Sebastian will face his idol Rafael Nadal in the fourth round at Roland Garros on Sunday
Just another day for this remarkable sporting family who, with Petr and Regina having been top tennis players themselves, occasionally refer to themselves jokingly as the ‘Kordashians’.
‘We have been talking about them being the next variation on the Williams sisters,’ said Patricio Apey, who in a former role represented Andy Murray and now manages the affairs of the Korda children and their parents.
Buckinghamshire-based Apey has on his hands Nelly, the world’s No 2 female golfer, No 22-ranked Jessica, and Sebastian, who is playing Nadal on clay on Sunday.
Korda Jnr’s progress in Paris is significant because the brown dirt is not his best surface. America, and tennis as a whole, desperately needs a genuine male star from the United States and he is providing hope that he may be the one to break through.
Sebastian is still ranked only 213 in the world, but as Apey explained, his father has always taken a long-term view of the children’s careers and ensured that they were properly equipped to handle the big time when they made it.
Theirs is not the only family benefitting from the crossover of expertise between golf and tennis. Daniel Berger, the current world No 13 in golf, is the son of former tennis top tenner Jay Berger, a near contemporary of Petr Korda.
At just 22, Nelly Korda is the world No 2 and is on -7 going into the final round in New Jersey
‘With Sebastian there is an element of him having gone under the radar but that was largely deliberate,’ said Apey. ‘He was held out of big junior events until he was 15 and most of the time was kept away from the wider pack of US juniors coming through.
‘Petr is hands-on with all of them and directs everything but he has always taken a broad view and looked at the bigger picture.
‘He has mostly let others coach Sebastian, because he is very conscious from his own experience that when parents are also coaches they often end up falling out with their children.
‘It was the same with the daughters and golf. He caddied for them in their early events but then passed it on to the others. He splits responsibilities with Regina (a former top-30 tennis player) who knows a lot about sport as well.
27-year-old Jessica Korda is just a shot behind her younger sister and is the world No 22
‘The way they’ve been allowed to develop is why all three are nice people, and they are very grounded as well.’
For example a family rule has always been that if they are sent any gear by a sponsor, and it does not fit or is unused, the children have to re-box it themselves and take it to a post office to be sent back to the manufacturers.
While Petr, who won the Australian Open in 1998, and Regina always represented the Czech Republic they were both based in Bradenton, Florida, for most of their careers, and have lived there ever since.
Petr Korda won his only Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 1998 after beating Marcelo Rios
‘The children were all born in the US and are 100 per cent American but obviously there is a Czech influence in there, and they speak the language within the family,’ said Apey.
All family members play golf and tennis to a decent standard — Sebastian is close to a scratch golfer — but their sporting paths rarely cross these days.
Korda has already beaten US No 1 John Isner en route to the last 16, but with Nadal having lost only 19 games in his first three matches it will, for now, take a near miracle for him to progress any further.