Korda, Ruud and Gomez play Roland Garros generation game

Paris (AFP) –


When Sebastian Korda reached the Roland Garros last 32 on Wednesday, the first calls of congratulation came from four people who all know about winning.

On the line were father Petr, a former world number two who won the Australian Open in 1998 and was a runner-up in Paris six years earlier.

His mother Regina Rajchrtova, a former top 30 WTA player, also took the phone from their home in Florida.

Then there were his golf pro sisters Nelly and Jessica, respectively the world number two and 22 on the LPGA rankings.

"They watched the whole match. My sisters, as well," said 20-year-old Korda after knocking out 21st-seeded compatriot John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. "Everybody is pretty hyped up right now."

Korda took up tennis at the age of eight having watched his parents play the game.

It's a decision which has paid off. In January 2018, he claimed the Australian Open boys title and took the world junior number one ranking.

He made his ATP Tour debut just a few weeks later in New York.

Until this week, he had never won a main draw match at the Slams but after coming through qualifying he went on to knock out Italian veteran Andreas Seppi in his opener in Paris.

"My dad is a really big help, he oversees everything," Korda, who stands at 6ft 5in (1.96m) said after his first round win.

"He doesn't really travel with me that much, but we're always in contact and whenever I'm home we're always on the court together.

"He's a really big help and I don't think I would be anywhere near where I am right now without him."

Korda, ranked 213 in the world, earned glowing tributes from Isner even if "he's a Boston Bruins fan, I'm a Carolina Hurricanes fan.

- 'Very athletic family' -

"They eliminated Carolina again in the playoffs. Gives me some crap for that."

"He certainly has an incredible pedigree given his father's tennis career, his two sisters doing amazing things on the LPGA Tour. Good to see him having success. That's a very, very athletic family, no doubt about that."

Korda is not the only son of a tennis playing father at Roland Garros this year.

Norway's Casper Ruud, seeded 28, also made the third round on Wednesday, seeing off Tommy Paul of the United States 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

Last year at the tournament, Ruud was beaten in the last 32 by Roger Federer who had also played at the 1999 tournament which featured Christian Ruud - Casper's father.

Christian reached the third round that year when Casper was just five months old.

Like Korda, Emilio Gomez of Ecuador came through qualifying for a first appearance in the main draw of a Slam.

However, he fell to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy in the first round of an event which his father, Andres, won in 1990 beating Andre Agassi in the final.

"I felt the same emotion as when my father beat Agassi," said 28-year-old Gomez when asked what it felt like to reach the main draw.

But after his loss to Sonego, the 156th-ranked Gomez added: "They were emotional hours for me and my family. Being here and passing qualifying is already a privilege. It is my father's story and that of my country."