Nelly Korda Holds The Fort
Nelly Korda is holding the fort in this week’s HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa while her sister, Jessica, is nursing a wrist injury back home in the States. Though everyone will miss Jessica, it has to be said that Nelly is currently making enough headlines for two, what with her recent achievement in becoming the fourth member of the family to capture an Australian Open title.
It all started, of course, with Petr Korda winning the Australian Open tennis in 1998. Still dealing in tennis, Petr’s son, Sebastian, won the Australian Open junior title twenty years later. Moving on to golf, Jessica won the Australian Open in 2012 – and it is that result which has just been matched by Nelly. It adds up to an extraordinary family feat, especially when you consider how the average household would be more than happy to pick up four club championships among them…
Apparently, all the Kordas are in love with Australia – and Australia with them. Now, the 20,000 or so Australian expats in Singapore will be dividing their time between fretting over Jessica’s non-appearance and chatting excitedly amongst themselves as to whether Nelly can improve on her Sentosa appearance of a year ago. That was when she had a six-footer to join Michelle Wie in a play-off. The putt missed but, had it dropped and had she gone on to win, there would have been back-to-back Korda wins in that Jessica had triumphed in Thailand the previous week.
It was Jessica who, not so long ago, was happy to advance her theory on how Petr and his wife, Regina Rajchrtova, who twice reached the last sixteen in the US tennis Open, produced three such talented offspring without doing anything to push the trio. “We didn’t need pushing,” said Jessica. “Simply listening to how hard things had been for my parents when they were living in Czechoslovakia and wanting to play tennis in the outside world was enough.
“Sometimes they would sleep on other people’s hotel floors – and there were days when they only had enough money for one meal. Knowing what they did motivates me – and I never cease to be grateful for how they have made things so much easier for the three of us.”
The next question was whether or not the children had felt the weight of expectation on their shoulders. The answer here was in the negative. The parents had sent the three of them out into the sporting world with the words, “Go out there and see what you’ve got….You’ll get your fingers burnt along the way but that’s what has to happen.”
So where is all this success going to lead?
All being well, to a family reunion at Gleneagles in September of this year, with the girls playing in the US team to meet the Europeans in the Solheim Cup. At the time of writing, the two were well-placed on the relevant points list.
Jessica played in 2013 and was chosen again for 2017 at Des Moines, only to have to pull out on the eve of the match with an injured forearm. It would be sad beyond belief if an injury were to cost her a place this time around, and cost the sisters the chance to become the first sisters play on a US Solheim Cup side. (Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam both represented Europe in 1998.)
The Ryder Cup, which has been going for rather longer, can boast five sets of brothers to have played alongside each other. For America, Joe Turnesa and Jim Turnesa played in the match but in different years, with the same applying to Jay and Lionel Hebert.
Where the Europeans are concerned, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari were in the same 2010 winning side at Celtic Manor. Before that, Bernard and Geoff Hunt both featured in the match of 1963 while, earlier still, the trio of Reg, Earnest and Charles Whitcombe did the seemingly impossible when all three appeared in the match of 1935.
Is it possible that Ivan Lendl might see that as something of a challenge.
After all, he has five daughters against Korda’s two – and three of them are into golf?