Let’s face it – there are some BIG Melbourne up-and-comers scheduled to play at the 2021 Australian Open.
Among the line-up for Melbourne are fan-favorites such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Not to mention some leading WTA such as Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, and Bianca Andreescu.
Melbourne Up and Comer – Sebastian Korda
But there are a few ‘up-and-comers’ you might want to keep an eye on, including American tennis pro, Sebastian Korda.
Currently ranked 103 in the world, this 20-year-old turned pro about two years ago.
As the former World No. 1 Junior Player, Korda recently earned his new career-high ranking after defeating John Isner in the quarter-finals at the 2021 Delray Beach, Fl tournament.
Ironically, the tourney was only a three and a half-hour drive from his current residence in Braydenton, FL, and he went on to lose in the finals against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
But we can expect Melbourne to conjure up a few good memories for Korda since he captured the Australian Open boys’ singles title in 2018.
It was a mere 20 years after his father, and now coach, Petr Korda, won the Australian Open men’s singles title.
Yes, folks, you read right – Korda’s father was ranked as high as No. 2 on the ATP Tour.
And get this – his mother, Regina Korda, also played on the tour. She peaked on the WTA at No. 26.
To confirm the genetic elitism that runs in Korda’s family, his two older sisters, Nelly and Jessica, are both pro golfers on the LPGA Tour.
Best known for his massive two-handed backhand, we can expect great things from this 6’5”, 170 pound, right-handed player, which is why I’ve dubbed him as one to watch.
Another Up and Comer – Coco Gauff
Another American to watch is Cori “Coco” Gauff.
Don’t let the fact that she’s a mere 16 years old stop you from cheering for this 5’9” winner.
This young lady is poised to be a champion!
Gauff is coached by his father, Corey Gauff, who interestingly played basketball at Georgia State an NCAA D-1 program.
Her mother, Candi Gauff, competed in a variety of track and field activities at Florida State University.
Self-labeled as a “fighter”, Gauff describes her game as, “Aggressive as possible, with a big serve”.
And that serve has earned her a singles title in Linz, Austria, in 2019, making her one of the youngest WTA players to ever win a title. Tracy Austin still holds the record for winning in Portland, OR at the age of 14, in 1977.
Gauff also holds two doubles titles, both with WTA pro, Caty McNally.
But she’s not the only youngster we should be watching in Melbourne.
Rising Star – Jannik Sinner
Nineteen-year-old Jannik Sinner from San Candido, Italy is another ATP player to observe.
Named 2019 ATP Newcomer of the Year and in addition to speaking Italian, he is fluent in German and English.
He has earned combined prize money of $1.3M and has done some noble things with his earnings, including donating €12,500 to Cesvi, a humanitarian organization, to aid with COVID-19 medical emergencies in Bergamo, Italy.
Although he was a champion skier in Italy, up until a few years ago, Sinner says he chose tennis over skiing at age 13 and left home to train with Riccardo Piatti and Massimo Sartori.
Today, his coaches are Piatti and Andrea Volpini.
With a win-loss record of 30-21, some of his career highlights include a recent victory over Australian duo Scott Puodziunas and Calum Puttergil, at the Great Ocean Road Open. Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz made their doubles’ debut and sealed the deal, giving fans a glimpse of greatness on the court.
Sinner ranks 36 in the world and seeded No. 37 at the Open.
Checking the Leaderboard – Iga Swiatek
But don’t think that leaderboards don’t lie – because sometimes they do.
Take for example Polish player Iga Swiatek. She was unseeded going into the French last year, and didn’t miss a beat – OR – lose a set during her seven rounds of match play.
Swiatek defeated No. 1 Simona Halep in the French finals. She is seeded No. 17 in Melbourne and similar to Korda, comes from an athletic bloodline.
Her father, Tomasz Swiatek, is a former Olympic rower, who competed in the men’s quadruple sculls event at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
Coached by Piotr Sierzputowski, Swiatek was inspired to play tennis as a way to spend time with her older sister.
Some of her career highlights include winning four singles titles on ITF Circuit in 2018, two ITF singles titles in 2017, and her first event on the ITF Circut in Sweden.
If she can keep calm, and manage her nerves, we predict we’ll see this young lady hoisting a silver trophy high above her head, waving to the crowd from the winner’s podium once again real soon.
Check out what the pros will be wearing and the gear they’re playing with by visiting TennisExpress.com.
Enjoy the Open and keep an eye out for these Melbourne up and comers!
That’s it for the Tennis Express Ultimate Tennis Gift Guide for 2020. For all of the newest tennis gear and tennis apparel, visit us at tennisexpress.com.