Korda: 'I Was Kind Of Just Praying That It Would Stop Hurting'

  • Posted: Oct 12, 2023

Korda: ‘I Was Kind Of Just Praying That It Would Stop Hurting’

American reflects on comeback from wrist injury

At his best, Sebastian Korda’s game appears effortless. The American crushes the ball with smooth strokes and often takes the racquet out of his opponent’s hand. It is that aggressive tennis that has helped the 23-year-old reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final this week at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

But finding this level has not been easy for Korda, who has struggled throughout the year with a wrist injury.

“My injury actually started last year, probably around this time. I was battling with a wrist, then it was okay, then it got progressively worse during the training block right before the Australian Open,” Korda said. “I played in Adelaide, it was okay. As I started playing best-of-five, a lot of matches, against a lot of really big servers, especially going to the forehand, it was difficult. It started hurting a lot.

“Then, it was just a super long journey from there. I was out for three months, and just had to re-learn, basically, all the tennis stuff that I did, especially with the wrist. Basically every single practice, every single forehand that I hit, I was kind of just praying that it would stop hurting, and it just never would.”

Korda admitted that occasionally he still has some issues, especially on the forehand side.

“I just don’t have a lot of reps, you could say, on my forehand side — on my forehand, on my forehand volleys, returning,” Korda said. “It’s just something that will come. I’ve just got to play a lot more matches, a lot more practices and hopefully it becomes normal again.”

The American is 21st in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin despite all the time he has missed this year. At the beginning of the season, he held championship point against Novak Djokovic in the Adelaide final and defeated Daniil Medvedev en route to the Australian Open quarter-finals.

“Missed three months, but I also missed another four months of kind of re-learning how to do everything,” Korda said. “I lost a lot of time this year with my injury, and, yeah, it’s definitely sucked, but right now I’m starting to really get back into it, playing some really good tennis again, some high-level tennis, and hopefully the results will follow.”

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Korda Outlasts Shelton In Shanghai Thriller

That has been the case this week in Shanghai, where last week’s Astana finalist Korda has defeated Medvedev, Francisco Cerundolo and Ben Shelton en route to the semi-finals. He needed a final-set tie-break to oust Shelton — with whom he shared a nice post-match moment at the net — for a place in the last four.

“It was definitely a really good moment. Ben’s a really good guy. He’s got a great family. We’ve started to know each other really well these past couple months. We have a great relationship together. We played doubles one time, will definitely play again in the future,” Korda said. “I think we just talked about the tie-break and we were just kind of laughing.

“He’s an incredible player, he’s electric, he’s fun to watch. He’s fun to play against, honestly. I had a lot of fun during the match today. Honestly, just shows also the type of person that he is. He’s incredibly nice, always has a smile on his face, and just a really great guy all around.”

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