#NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda is preparing to face countryman Brandon Nakashima in the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Friday, having soared out of Group B with a perfect 3-0 record.
The 21-year-old is the second seed in Milan following his standout 2021 season, which saw him capture his maiden tour-level title in Parma and reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
With expectations on the World No. 39 high, Korda spoke to ATPTour.com about the 21-and-under event in Milan.
Ferrero: The Art Of Building Alcaraz
A lot of the #NextGenATP players have been doing amazing things this year. How much does it motivate you, seeing the other young players doing well? Is there anyone in particular who has really impressed you?
There are a lot of great players here. How Carlos Alcaraz just shot up, at the end of the year how well he was playing was impressive. There are a lot of great players here, which is awesome to see. We all played juniors together, so we all know each other and it is fun to play against each other. It is awesome.
When you were growing up there was Roger, Rafa and Novak, who created great rivalries. As you’re competing with other #NextGenATP players, have you thought about your budding rivalries and playing against them for many years?
It is awesome. Hopefully we can have rivalries like they had. It is incredible. I played Lorenzo [Musetti] earlier this year and it was a fun match to be a part of and hopefully I play a lot of matches against Hugo Gaston. He is a lot of fun to play against. He is an incredible player. I would love the chance to play against Carlos with how well he has been playing. It would be a new experience for me.
Have you watched the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals before and if so what were your thoughts?
I watched it every year. One of my biggest goals was to be here and to achieve it this year, I am really happy and excited. I worked really hard this year, had some great results. I am playing good tennis and having fun here and enjoying myself.
The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals always has many innovations. Were there any that you particularly enjoyed and look forward to using and if so, why?
All the rules are tough to get used to but by now everyone is used to them. The one-minute warm-up was a little bit tricky because I have never done that before. The deuce points, from playing doubles you get the feel of it. Maybe at the qualifying for the US Open, they had courtside coaching, so I have experienced it a little bit. I don’t use it as much as some of the other players. First to four games is really difficult because you always have to concentrate and have to be ready to go. One break is a really big thing for the set and the momentum for the match.
When you think of Italy, what do you think of?
The food! My mind goes straight to pizza and pasta. Also, all the passion people have here. Be it tennis or football or any kind of sport. They get really behind it, which is awesome to see. We could hear the fans chanting at the Milan derby [on Sunday].
Have you ever done some sight-seeing in Italy and if so what was your favourite place to visit?
I haven’t seen anything yet. But after this tournament, I will probably stay and take the off-season here with my girlfriend and take a little trip around Europe and see some of the sights.