La Gaceta De Mexico - Korda, son of Grand Slam champion, plots repeat Alcaraz downfall

Korda, son of Grand Slam champion, plots repeat Alcaraz downfall
Korda, son of Grand Slam champion, plots repeat Alcaraz downfall / Photo: © AFP

Korda, son of Grand Slam champion, plots repeat Alcaraz downfall

Sporting success runs in the family of Sebastian Korda, the American who hopes to spoil Carlos Alcaraz's attempt to become just the eighth teenager to win a men's Grand Slam men's title at Roland Garros.

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But the 21-year-old Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, is out to make a name for himself in his own right ahead of a showdown with a player widely tipped to end the Grand Slam dominance of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Sport runs deep in Korda's DNA. His mother Regina Rajchrtova is a former top 30 WTA player while sister Nelly took Olympic gold in Tokyo barely a month after winning last year's Women's PGA Championship.

Eldest sister Jessica, another talented golfer in the family, finished runner-up recently at the Chevron Championship, the first women's major of 2022.

As for Sebastian, the former junior world number one is the last player to defeat Alcaraz, dealing the young Spaniard his only loss on clay this season in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

"He can do it all. He's quick, he's got a great serve, great forehand, great backhand, volleys well. There is nothing he can't really do," Korda said after his win over Alcaraz in April.

"He's going to be very tough to beat in the next couple of years."

And so it has proven, with Alcaraz carrying a record of 30 wins and three losses this year into his third-round meeting Friday against Korda, the 2018 Australian Open boys' champion.

Alcaraz also has a tour-leading four titles -- including clay triumphs in Rio, Barcelona and Madrid where he beat Nadal, Djokovic and third-ranked Alexander Zverev.

- Disciples of Nadal -

One common bond between Korda and Alcaraz is their reverence for Nadal, the record 21-time Grand Slam champion and childhood idol of both of last year's Next Gen finalists.

For Korda, it is a devotion so deep that he named his cat after the great Spaniard.

And while Korda has modelled himself on Nadal, he can tap into a wealth of experience within his entourage, counting two greats of the sport among his mentors -- former world number ones Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.

"I've got a lot of great people in my corner. I've got my dad and my coach, Dean Goldfine, Andre Agassi," said Korda.

"I have got a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience in my corner. So it's a lot of great talks, and I try and take in as much as possible, try to use it the way I can."

A repeat success over Alcaraz would see Korda, the 27th seed, match his run to the last 16 here on his Grand Slam debut as a qualifier two years ago. That breakout performance came to a shuddering halt against Nadal.

But as Korda dreams of going one better than his father, beaten by Jim Courier in the 1992 French Open final, Alcaraz will want to prove he's learned his lesson in their rematch.

"These losses are sometimes good to live," Alcaraz said in Monte Carlo, admitting to his struggles with the transition from hard court to European clay after becoming the youngest Miami Open champion.