Sebastian Korda currently occupies the 65th position in the world rankings, just a few steps away from his best ranking at number 62. In Belgrade and Monaco he lost immediately in the first round, while in the Masters 1000 Miami overtook Radu Albot, Fabio Fognini, Aslan Karatsev and Diego Schwartzman before losing in the quarter-finals to Andrei Rublev in two sets.
Still very young, Sebastian never hid his admiration for the Majorcan Rafael Nadal, holder of 20 Grand Slam races. In the last edition of Roland Garros in Paris, Sebastian - coming from the qualifiers - defeated Andreas Seppi, John Isner and Petro Martinez in the main draw, before clashing with Nadal.
The match ended with a tough score of 6-1 6-1 6-2, but the young American was delighted to face his greatest childhood idol. "I eat a lot of tennis," confessed Sebastian in a new interview published by the French website We Love Tennis.
"I watch some of them on television pretty much every day. And I have to admit that it gives me a lot of inspiration, especially when it comes to Rafael Nadal. The way he behaves on the pitch, his professionalism and his humility, all of this will never cease to be a real inspiration to me.
I hope he will continue to play tennis for a long time to come, because I would like to have another opportunity to challenge him." Also present in the main draw of the last Us Open as a wildcard, Korda immediately lost to 12th seeded Denis Shapovalov, with a score of 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-2.
It was only the second appearance of the American in the main draw of a Grand Slam event. Nadal will try to get to Roland Garros in Paris in the best possible condition, he who has just raised his twelfth trophy in Barcelona.
A Rafael Nadal's record that Federer and Djokovic will never break
After the conclusion of the Miami Open, the ATP calendar now turns to the usual season on European clay-courts: the first milestone is the historical ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, born in 1897.
In 2019, in what turned out to be the last edition before the Coronavirus pandemic, the trophy was lifted by Fabio Fognini against Dusan Lajovic in the final, with the Italian who managed to defeat the Spanish Rafael Nadal, winner here 11 times, an absolute record - in the penultimate match of the tournament.
Also this year, the big favorite for the swing on European red-clay can only be Rafa, thirteen times champion at the Roland Garros (where he hasn't lost since 2015, in 2016 he withdrawn - ed.). The Mallorcan's last success in the Principality of Monaco dates back to 2018, when he defeated Kei Nishikori in the final with a score of 6-3 6-2.
35 years-old to go next June, Nadal has played only one tournament in this 2021: it is the Australian Open in Melbourne, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Stefanos Tsitsipas after being two sets to zero. Today at number 3 in the ATP world rankings, Rafa holds a truly unbeatable record: he is the player to have conquered the largest number of events on the clay Tour, as many as 60.
Among the players still active, in second place - but at a distance nothing short of huge, the Serbian world no.1 Novak Djokovic, stopped at 15. On the third step here are Roger Federer and Tommy Robredo, at 11. It is an incredible figure that of Rafa, who in this ranking also dominates other past champions who are no longer in business: Guillermo Vilas (49), Thomas Muster ( 40), Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes (30), Ivan Lendl (28), Ilie Nastase (27), José Luis Clerc (21), Mats Wilander (20), Andrés Gomez and Carlos Moya (16).
Considering that Nadal has won a total of 86 career titles, we can say that around 70% of these have been won on clay. As for the Russian Daniil Medvedev, the Muscovite has yet to win a match in Paris.