'I can play with Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic now', says ATP ace

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'I can play with Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic now', says ATP ace

Sebastian Korda was one of the great protagonists of the Miami Open, where he witnessed the countless progress made in recent months. In the first Masters 1000 of the season (thanks to the postponement of Indian Wells), the 20-year-old American went all the way to the quarter-finals, giving up with honor to fourth-seed Andrey Rublev.

His balance is now an excellent 10-4 this season, without forgetting the final reached in Delray Beach last January (lost to Hurkacz). As almost everyone will know, Sebastian is a child of art: his father Petr won the title of the Australian Open in 1996, climbing up to the second position in the world ranking.

Korda, who will enter the Top 70 from Monday, has eliminated opponents of the caliber of Fabio Fognini, Radu Albot, Aslan Karatsev and Diego Schwartzman along his splendid journey in Florida. At the press conference, the American admitted that he no longer feels so distant from top players such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Korda credits mother for his on-court demeanour

“I kind of feel comfortable playing against these bigger guys,” said World No. 87 Sebastian Korda, who was contesting just his second ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

“This week showed me that I can keep up and play with the biggest names in tennis (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic). So it was a really positive week, both in singles and in doubles. I had a lot of fun in doubles with my partner, Michael Mmoh.

I will take a lot from this and hopefully I can play some good tennis on the clay now. I think one of the best things was the break that we had,” said Korda. “It helped me really focus on my body, and fortunately we had a tennis court right next to our house.

We were all healthy and we were all staying safe. That was a really big thing for me. I just got in a lot of reps, and I think that really shows in my game right now that I'm a lot more consistent. I can keep up with these bigger guys.

I think that's one of the biggest things. But I also think skipping out on [the] Australia [swing] was also a really big thing for me, getting a lot matches. I'm match fit. When I have a lot of matches under my belt, I play some really good tennis”.

Throughout his run, Korda kept his emotions in check, something he credits to his mother, Regina, a former World No. 26 on the WTA Tour. “I think ever since I was a kid, my mom was really big into kind of having a poker face on court and not showing any negative emotions.

Obviously, positive emotions are always great, but I think my mom was really big on that. I have her to thank for that, because I think it's a really [a] big strength for me that the opponent doesn't really know what's happening on the other side of the court. I try to use it to my favour”.