Korda ends 2021 in Milan:
'An incredible year for me'
Victoria Chiesa | November 13, 2021
Sebastian Korda's breakthrough season concluded this week with a berth at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy, the year-end tournament for the best eight players on the ATP Tour aged 21-and-under. Unbeaten in round-robin play, Korda advanced to his second final of the season and finished as runner-up to 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 4-3(5), 4-2, 4-2.
The Next Gen ATP Finals began in 2017 and is defined by its unique rules, including its hallmark five-set format where each set is played to four games. This year's event saw further experimental rule changes including a one-minute warm-up instead of the traditional four, timed bathroom breaks and courtside coaching.
Korda and Alcaraz were the first American and Spaniard, respectively, to reach the final at the event, and both went 3-0 as the top seeds in their respective groups to reach the knockout rounds. ADVERTISEMENT After wins against France's Hugo Gaston, Argentina's Sebastian Baez and home favorite Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, Korda needed five sets to beat compatriot Brandon Nakashima in an all-American semifinal, 4-3(3), 2-4, 1-4, 4-2, 4-2.
Read More on USOpen.org: Brick by brick: Korda’s patient progress
"It was an unbelievable week for me. I want to congratulate Carlos and his whole team. I know how you guys are working so hard. The results that you guys are showing are incredible and there are so many things ahead for you guys," Korda said in his runner-up speech.
"It's been an incredible year for me. So many new things for me and there are so many new things [coming] next year. [I'll take] a couple of days of rest and then get back to work so I can do one step better... next year. I just want to thank my whole team for sticking with me every week. You guys are incredible."
Posting a 31-18 win-loss record on the season, Korda's 2021 highlights included his first career title in Parma, Italy in May without the loss of a set and a fourth-round berth at Wimbledon. Having started the year ranked world No. 119, the 21-year-old currently sits at world No. 41 after he reached a career-high of No. 38 in October.