The rapidly rising Sebastian Korda showed off his improved game in getting to the final in Delray Beach this week, defeating second seed John Isner and?Cameron?Norrie before a fatigued straight-sets defeat to?Hubert Hurkacz.?
Now?he wants to show he's also improved mentally,?by building on this run.
"I'm a super positive guy on court, so I'm always in the moment and always super positive. There are very few times you'll see any emotion come out of me that's negative," Korda said during the week. "I worked a lot on that during this break and it's paying off right now."
The 20-year-old backed it up by looking at the positives following his defeat in the final, saying he played great tennis during the week.
"It is?only a big plus," he said. "I’m going to go back, I’m going to go work hard and just trust my tennis and keep doing the things that I’m doing."
Ranked No. 119, he's almost reached his next goal.
"For sure to break the Top 100 and be a consistent player at these bigger tournaments would be a super big thing for me to get used to this atmosphere and these players."
Korda is already used to the attention—not just as a junior Grand Slam champion, but also because of his tennis background.?
Sebastian's father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open and reached No. 2 in the rankings, while his mother Regina is a former world No. 26. His sisters, Jessica and Nelly, are professional golfers on the LPGA tour.??
All have been a big help to him in his career, though he's got a while to go before he can brag to his father.
“He's then just going to counter that and say, 'I've got a Grand Slam,'" Sebastian said, jokingly. “My dad is not anything like that.?He's all for me. As long as I'm happy, he's happy."
His father's playing connections also helped get him a training session with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, breaking up a long stretch with no tournaments. Playing and talking to the multiple Grand Slam champions also helped his mentality.
"I was practicing just in the courts next door to our house, and I was getting kind of mentally tired," said Korda, who then got to hit with his father's old doubles partner, Agassi.
"He sees the game way different than most people, that’s for sure," Korda said. "He reads opponents. "Some of the stuff he thinks about, you would never think about during a match or before a match."
Korda also got a look at Graf's famed forehand on court.
"I didn't want to play with her," he said. "I was too intimidated."
But he did,?a couple of times.?
"She was incredible, she would give me some tips on the court and the energy that she brings every single day," he added.
Korda had chosen to play Delray Beach instead of competing in Australian Open qualifying.