ORLANDO, Fla. – Nelly Korda woke up 30 minutes before her alarm went off Friday to watch her brother Sebastian take on No. 7 Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open. She was dining players when he achieved victory in three sets.
Mardy Fish, Sebastian’s Davis Cup captain, got up at 5 am to watch him play.
“He’s a great guy and I root for him like crazy,” said Fish, who leads the celebrity division at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions after a scintillating 5-under 67 at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club. Fish moved nine points ahead of home favorite Annika Sorenstam in the Stableford format.
Sebastian, who advanced to the fourth round, told the Down Under crowd that he is the worst athlete in the family.
Nelly, an eight-time LPGA winner, was opposed to the idea.
“It’s complete nonsense,” he said. “He’s the best. Honestly, he’s the best. His hand-eye coordination is unbelievable. His swing, I’m actually jealous of his swing. It’s crazy. He’s left-handed. He’s right-handed by nature, but he golfs left-handed. He played hockey left-handed. I mean, he grew up playing hockey. He was pretty good at it, too. Like he skated really well, played golf really well, played tennis great.
“It’s full of shit. Forgive my French.”
Petr Korda won the 1998 Australian Open and Nelly’s older sister Jessica made the 2012 Women’s Australian Open her first LPGA title. Mama Regina, a former Olympian, was a strong player in her own right before injury sidelined her from the game.
“His father is very strict with his schedule, Petr is,” Fish said of his time as Sebastian’s captain, “so I understood and respected that.
Nelly shot a 3-under 69 in the second round of TOC and is four shots behind Brooke Henderson heading into the weekend. Nelly, a grand champion and Olympic gold medalist and current World No. 2, won the 2021 Gainbridge LPGA event here in Lake Nona, a week after her sister Jessica won the 2021 TOC. Jessica, a six-time LPGA winner, he battled a back injury late last season and will start his 2023 campaign next month in Thailand.
As for Sebastian’s golf swing, Nelly marvels at his sheer athleticism.
“It’s fun, it does it to the left, which is really nice,” he said. “He doesn’t change his hands and swing it to the right and still make it pure. Yeah, it’s just that it’s special. He is one of a kind.”