Jessica Korda may be the reigning Australian Open champion, but the 19-year-old feels like she’ll never fully step out of the shadow of her father Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open tennis champion.
Having a famous last name is not a situation she’ll contend with alone with when she defends her title in Canberra next week, with plenty of eyes on Cheyenne Woods, niece of golf’s biggest name, Tiger.
“I think I’m forever going to be known as Petr Korda’s daughter, [but after winning] people can know a little bit about me and what I do, and I’m not just Petr Korda’s daughter,’’ she said.
“You know how to deal with that certain type of pressure, and I think it motivates you a little bit more so you can show people who you are, and not like who my parents are or who your uncle is.’’
Having won the Australian Open, the American hopes she may be able to “inspire another generation,” but thinks a name can only do so much.
“If you have a love for the game at the end of the day your last name really doesn’t mean anything, it’s what you want it to be.”
Last year’s Open at Royal Melbourne marked the start of Korda’s second year on the LPGA tour, having put in a lot of hard work in the off-season, her goal was simply to make the cut.
“Really last year was great to win, it was really nice to move myself up on a lot of boards and it made me realise really what makes great players great is their consistency and that’s something I need to learn and will continue learning as I grow as a person and as a player and keep maturing,” she said.
“Consistency is key out here and that’s what I’m trying to do, be more consistent out on the golf course … and just continue working towards being number one – however long that may take.”
While she will enter as defending champion, a situation she admits is unfamiliar with just the one LPGA win to her name, the change of venue to Royal Canberra means not so familiar territory.
“I played Royal Canberra last year, it’s a beautiful golf course, but it’s a completely different venue, so you can’t really call it too much defending.”
Her performance at the Royal Canberra Ladies Classic wasn’t spectacular, she tied for ninth at one-under-par, 11 shots behind winner Karen Lunn, but was sick and on antibiotics at the time.
Despite the different course, she knows there will be more eyes on her as the defending champion.
“Honestly when you’re out on the golf course you can’t really think about that, you have to think about what you need to do, what your next shot is,” she said.
“Before I tee off, like the first couple of days before I’ll be a little bit nervous. But I think when I step on the golf course it’ll just be me and the golf course again.”