‘I named my cat after Rafa’: Sebastian Korda purrs over Nadal ahead of Roland Garros clash

Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda

Clive Brunskill/Getty Photos

Sebastian Korda developed such a bromance with Rafael Nadal that he as rapidly as named his cat after the Spanish well-known specific individual.

Now he’ll get the prospect to kind out the world quantity two in an unlikely Roland Garros last-16 duel on Sunday.

“Rising up, I named my cat Rafa after him. That claims quite a bit about how fairly a bit I really just like the individual,” mentioned Korda after seeing off Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-Four, 6-Three, 6-1 in Friday’s third spherical.

Korda is ranked a lowly 213 on the earth and is making his Paris debut having come by the use of qualifying.

Earlier to this week, he had under no circumstances obtained a match on the primary tour.

Nonetheless, sport runs deep in his DNA. His father Petr obtained the Australian Open in 1998 having been runner-up in Paris six years earlier.

His mom Regina Rajchrtova is a former extreme 30 WTA participant whereas sisters Nelly and Jessica are respectively the world quantity two and 22 on the LPGA golf rankings.

Merely remaining month, Nelly agonisingly missed out on a significant foremost of her non-public, shedding a play-off to Lee Mi-rim on the ANA Inspiration in California.

“I used to be watching it at like 12:30 contained in the morning in Prague. I actually really feel my coronary coronary coronary heart price on the time was 87 or one issue like that. I’ve an image from it. I used to be merely utterly wired,” mentioned Korda of his sister’s near-miss.

Korda is a former world junior main who has modelled himself on Nadal, the 12-time Roland Garros champion who’s chasing a record-equalling 20th foremost.

‘He is my finest idol’

“He is my finest idol. He is thought of one in all many causes I play tennis,” Korda mentioned of Nadal.

“Merely watching him play, unbelievable competitor. Merely from him I’ve the never-give-up mentality. Every time I am on courtroom docket, I try to be like him.”

Nadal has solely ever misplaced twice at Roland Garros. His 95-minute, 6-1, 6-Four, 6-Zero demolition of Italy’s Stefano Travaglia on Friday was his 96th win on the match.

Korda, 20, initially toyed with turning into an ice hockey participant comparatively than a tennis expert nonetheless he caught the bug when he watched Radek Stepanek face Novak Djokovic contained in the fourth spherical of the 2009 US Open.

“It was on Ashe stadium, 10:30 at evening, absolutely packed. I believed it was the good situation. Went residence, acquired proper right here as soon as extra the next 12 months and mentioned, That is precisely what I need to do. The remaining is historic earlier,” he mentioned.

Nadal mentioned he was “blissful to be all ears to that” when educated that Korda had named his cat after him and that he was the American’s idol.

“It signifies that I’ve been on the TV for such a extremely very very long time, that is the main situation. The equal like as quickly as I was a toddler, I used to be watching Sampras, Agassi, Carlos Moya, et cetera.

“I do know he is taking half in good. He is a really youthful child with a substantial amount of vitality. I actually really feel he has an unbelievable future – hopefully not nonetheless.”

With Nadal having dropped merely 9 video video video games in his remaining two rounds, the chances are extreme that Korda’s run in Paris will finish Sunday.

Nonetheless, he has his sights on future household bragging rights.

“My dad is awfully supportive. However my aim in life is to win two Grand Slams so I’ve however one other than he has!” he mentioned.

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