RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Jessica Korda’s parents were both world-class tennis players, but they are more mom and dad than coaches now as her star rises in the American ranks of women’s golf.
Her father, Petr, a former Czech Republic star, won the Australian Open in 1998. Her mother, Regina Rajchrtova, was once the 25th ranked women’s tennis player in the world.
Korda, though, isn’t traveling with her father as caddie this year. She is on her own in her third season on tour.
“Neither of my parents travel with me anymore,” Korda said. “My sister (Nellie) is 14, turning 15, and my brother (Sebastian) is 12, turning 13. They're both playing tennis and golf, and so they're growing in their own aspects and need their parents there. I'm 20 years old. I don't really need them to be out here. I can kind of drive myself around. I've made my own friends that I can go to dinner with. It's just easier for them, and it's definitely nice for both my brother and sister to have their mom and dad at home.”
This week's Kraft Nabisco Championship marks the first time Korda’s parents have been at a tournament with her since the U.S. Open last summer. It’s the first time she has seen her family since she hit the road to start the tour season 10 weeks ago.
“My brother and sister got so big,” Korda said. “It was really nice to see everybody, and I miss my dad's humor and my mom's calmness, and she did my laundry last night, so it was kind of nice.”
As a rookie, Korda had her father with her at every event but one.
“He knew it was time to let me go,” Korda said.
With all her parents' competitive experience at the highest level, Korda has benefited from their insights. She says their role is more as a support team now.
“My parents will always tell me what they think, not what to do, and that to me is really important,” Korda said. “They kind of let me make my own mistakes, and they let me grow as an individual and don't pressure me to do anything. Same thing when I was turning pro.'