In the coming years, sports fans may hear a lot about Jessica Korda. When a tennis fan hears the name of the 17-year-old golfer, who was the runner-up in last week's U.S. Women's Amateur, their first thought will almost certainly be something along the lines of "I wonder if she's related to Petr."
Then they'll get a look at the tall, skinny teenager who bares a striking resemblance to the Czech man who won the 1998 Australian Open and reached No. 2 in the ATP rankings and think, "she could be."
And then the camera will eventually show Jessica conversing with her 6-foot-3 caddy with an unmistakable tuft of blond hair and there'll be no doubt left. Indeed, Jessica Korda is the daughter of Petr, and the former Grand Slam champion serves as his oldest girl's caddy.
With her father on the bag, Jessica lost the 36-hole final of the U.S. Women's Amateur on Sunday to fellow teenager Danielle Kang. The two Americans (the Kordas now live in Florida) were vying for their first amateur titles.
Korda plans on turning professional later this year, provided that the LPGA gives her a waiver to enter qualifying school. The age minimum is 18, but Jessica hopes the organization will allow her to enter at age 17.
The Kordas got into golf on the recommendation of fellow Czech Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl, who also has a daughter who plays competitively. The two live next door to each other in Florida, and Korda says his friend has been a good sounding board as he helps his children develop athletically. Tennis was his first goal for Jessica, but she didn't like to sweat.
Jessica thrived in golf, qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Open and finishing 19th that year at the tender age of 15. Since then she's progressed through the amateur ranks, peaking with her appearance in Sunday's final.
Her father no longer plays tennis (and doesn't play golf either), and generally tends to avoid the spotlight when he's on his daughter's bag. His career ended ignominiously, with a positive steroid test and much enusing controversy. The athletic career of his daughter is his new focus. He told the Boston Globe in 2008 that Jessica will make her own decisions and that he'll support her.
She may want to win Grand Slams like her father, but Jessica's ultimate goal is one her dad never quite achieved. On her website she says she wants to become the No. 1 player in the world. Two U.S. Opens and an appearance in the amateur finals isn't a bad way to start.