'Growing up in a successful sporting family gave us what we need to succeed'February 15, 2019 The Scoop
When it comes to sporting siblings, Jessica and Nelly Korda are right up there – and they still have their whole careers ahead of them. Joe Hughes chatted to them
Step aside Williams sisters, move over Klitschko brothers, Andy and Jamie who? Sport has another set of siblings set to take the world by storm.
The daughters of professional tennis players Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova, the former of whom won the Australian Open grand slam, and older sisters of rising tennis star Sebastian, sport – and winning – is in the blood of Jessica and Nelly Korda.
The elder, 25-year-old Jessica, already has five LPGA Tour titles to her name, with Nelly, 20, joining her in the winners’ circle in October.
But where there is love and fun side bets, there is always rivalry. LG went to chat with the pair…
You’re both flourishing on the LGPA Tour, how are you able to help each other improve and produce your best golf?
Jessica: We are able to support each other a lot on the road, which is great.
Nelly: Whoever finishes higher on the money list at the end of the year gets a handbag of their choice from the other, which is some good motivation!
Your close friendship is well publicised, what are your favourite aspects about playing on Tour together?
Jessica: Having someone to travel with and eat dinner with who you’re so close with is always comforting. We are always pushing and encouraging each other when we are out on tour.
If you both make the Solheim Cup team, would you want to be paired together?
Nelly: We know each other’s games really well and obviously we know how each other tick, so I think we would make good partners.
Jessica: First, we both need to play well and qualify and ultimately it isn’t our decision. We would both just love to qualify and do whatever we can to help the team.
If you were in the final group of an event together, how strange would that be and what would the dynamic be like?
Jessica: I don’t think it would be strange for either of us. It would have meant that we had both played really well up until that point and we would both be happy to see the other win.
What do you find are the hardest aspects of playing professional golf and why?
Jessica: The LPGA is probably the hardest professional tour in terms of travel. It is truly a global tour.
Nelly: You have to make sure that you build a schedule that is carefully planned to minimise the toll travelling takes on your body and mind so you can be fresh and ready to play.
What’s the best thing about being a professional golfer?
Jessica: Being able to play the game you love while getting paid for it is great.
Nelly: Also, to be able to travel the world and see so many interesting places and different cultures has been a lot of fun.
What goals have you set yourselves for 2019?
Jessica: We both want to continue to improve as golfers, win tournaments and contend in the majors. We will definitely have our sights set on getting to Gleneagles in September as well.
If you could only win one major in your careers, which event would it be and why?
Nelly: Any major would be great, but the US Open would be amazing.
Jessica: The tournament has so much history and it would be great to get our names on that trophy among some of the legends of our sport.
Who are the best players on tour to play alongside and why?
Jessica: There are so many great players on the LPGA. Ariya [Jutanugarn] had a great year in 2018. She has so much power and played so consistently throughout the year.
Your father had a hugely successful sporting career, what sort of influence has he had on your careers so far?
Nelly: He has been hugely supportive of us throughout our lives no matter what we were doing.
Jessica: He and our mum have instilled a lot of values in us that has helped prepare us for professional sports and growing up in a sports family gave us a good insight to what it takes to succeed.
Jessica, after the disappointment of having to withdraw from the 2017 Solheim Cup team due to injury, how important is it that you make the most of this year and seal your place on the team for Gleneagles?
Jessica: Qualifying for the Solheim Cup is right up there in my goals for 2019. Being able to represent my country on such a large stage is an honour and something I take a lot of pride in.
You had three top-10 finishes in major championships last year. What is it about those events that bring out the best of your game?
Jessica: I just try to schedule my year around the majors to try and give myself the best chance to perform at 100 per cent when they come around.
And, Nelly, in your last three LPGA tour events of 2018 you had a win and then a solo 2nd finish at the Tour Championship. What have you been able to take from those performances?
Nelly: It has given me a lot of confidence sealing my first win on the LPGA Tour and then to back it up with another good performance has given me a lot of belief.
What would it mean to you to follow in the footsteps of so many great players, including Jessica, if you were to make the Solheim Cup team?
Nelly: It would mean a lot to me. To be able represent my country in a team full of my peers on the biggest stage would be amazing. It is something I have always wanted to be a part of.
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