Ahead of the Rafael Nadal and Sebastian Korda clash, 1992 French Open runner-up Petr Korda gave to an interview to the Roland Garros website. Sebastian Korda, 20, made it past the qualifying event and then won three consecutive main draw matches to make his maiden round-of-16 of a Grand Slam.
After beating Pedro Martinez in the third round, Korda said Nadal was his "biggest idol" and he even has a cat named Rafa after the 19-time Grand Slam champion. "As you can hear, my Rafa is screaming here,” Petr Korda told the Roland Garros website.
When Korda asked his wife how old Rafa the cat was, he was told 10 years. Nadal, a record 12-time French Open champion, is considered the greatest clay court player ever and he is aiming to lift his fourth consecutive title at Roland Garros this year.
Playing Nadal on his "home court" is never an easy things but Petr Korda hopes his son will manage to deliver a good performance on the biggest stage. "You are going to play in the living room of Mr. Nadal. What else can you say?” Korda uttered.
Petr Korda suggests his son has to show attitude against Nadal
In 1997, Petr Korda clashed the Wimbledon great Pete Sampras but he acknowledged that his Wimbledon clash against Sampras cannot be compared with the upcoming French Open clash between his son and Nadal.
"The time I played Pete, I was already an established player,” Korda pointed out. “Sebi is an up-and-coming player. He still has one, two more years where he’s going to be learning about the game of tennis”.
Petr Korda underlined you can't simply go out on the court hoping to beat Nadal. "He can play freely but you cannot just show up, just play a match,” said Korda. “You have to come up with some attitude, ‘I want to beat Nadal’.
I don’t think it’s his attitude to show up and just have a good time. He’s going to give his best. If Rafa wins, fantastic, he’s going to learn some valuable lessons”. After his French Open third round win, Sebastian Korda said: "I mean, he's my biggest idol.
He's one of the reasons I play tennis. Just watching him play, [he is an] 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."