Seb Korda, who made it to his maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal on Tuesday, revealed that growing up Swedish legend Stefan Edberg had been one of his role models, apart from his parents.
Korda defeated fifth seed Diego Schwartzman at the Miami Open 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 for his first Top 10 victory. One of four Americans to have started the day, it was the youngest, 20-year-old Korda, who was the last man standing.
Growing up, there was no lack of tennis inspiration for Korda, as his father Petr Korda is a former Grand Slam champion and mother Regina Rajchrtová was a former top-30 player.
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Though they represented their home country Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic in their playing days, the couple have settled in the US.
“Both my parents always loved kind of how Stefan Edberg used to move on court, how silent he was and he was like a cat at the net,” Seb Korda revealed during a press conference in Miami.
“That was always my mum’s favourite thing was to always try to be smooth on the court and not make any sound and kind of just flow around the court in a way.’
“I think I played at the US Open against (Denis) Shapovalov, and that was one of the things the commentators said, so that made my mum really happy.”
Another privilege of coming from a tennis family is that the youngster has easier access than most to the legends of the game. During the pre-season, Korda trained with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in Las Vegas.
“I’d say I have one of the best teams around me experience-wise. I have my dad who was a Grand Slam champion, No. 2 in the world, my mum who was a top-30 player and Radek Stepanek who is like my brother, we are always in contact,” Korda explained.
“Then to have a friend and mentor as Andre Agassi, I mean, I don’t think you can have a better team. There is a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge passing around. All I’m trying to do is just kind of keep my ears open and listen to as much of it, and hopefully I can take it and then do something with it.”
Before their Round of 16 clash, Schwartzman had praised the fast-rising Korda and compared him to Tomas Berdych.
“He’s a young guy, playing very good tennis. I’m watching him and I think he’s similar to Berdych, how he moves, how he hit the ball,” said Schwartzman.
“He’s really young, but he’s step on court and he looks like he’s been playing for 10 years already. That’s good for him.”