After Sebastian Korda dismissed Pedro Martinez, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros, he eagerly awaited his next opponent. That would turn out be none other than Rafael Nadal.
"He's my biggest idol. He's one of the reasons I play tennis," Korda said. "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.
"Growing up, I named my cat Rafa after him. That says a lot about how much I love the guy."
“He’s my biggest idol…I mean, I named my cat after him.” ????— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) October 2, 2020
Most 20-year-olds would be trembling with fear at the thought of facing @RafaelNadal for the first time, but not @SebiKorda.@DraftKings @Steve_Weissman #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/n375DvMjmL
The 20-year-old American came through qualifying without the loss of a set and has taken out Andreas Seppi, John Isner and now Matinez with the total loss of just two sets. Nadal has yet to be challenged having not even lost more than four games in a set yet.
Young Korda's name will be familiar since his father Petr is a former Czech pro that won the 1998 Australian Open and reached as high as No. 2.
"My dad, he's incredibly supportive," Korda said. "My goal in life is to win two Grand Slams so I have one more than he has. That's what I'm going for."
Petr reached the Roland Garros final in 1992, falling to Jim Courier. Sebastian's mom Regina Kordova (formerly Rajchrtova) was also a stellar player, climbing as high has No. 26. Her son has already surpassed her best showing in Paris, which was the third round in 1991.
Petr Korda caddying for his daughter Jessica in 2011. (Getty)
Sports are a family affair for the Kordas and Sebastian's childhood was filled with hockey, tennis and golf, the latter of which his two older sisters Jessica and Nelly play professionally. When Petr Korda was traveling on the golf tour with Sebastian's oldest sister Jessica, Regina Kordova even stepped in as coach.
"I was playing tennis with my mom. She's probably one of the biggest influences that I have," Korda said. "The way my strokes are and everything is because she's the one that kind of tuned it that way."
Sebastian Korda will get to test his strokes against the toughest barometer in the history of clay-court tennis on Sunday.