Meet Nelly Korda's Boyfriend, Andreas Athanasiou

Golf couple Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki may have split up, just like other golf couples: Tiger Woods and Lindsay Vonn and Greg Norman and Chris Evert. But at least one power couple features a professional golfer and an athlete from a different sport: 14-time LPGA tour winner Nelly Korda and the Chicago Blackhawks' center Andreas Athanasiou.

Although they went Instagram official on Thanksgiving in 2019, they swiftly deleted their post and have barely referenced their relationship since. Indeed, it's unlikely that you'llcsee Korda and Athanasiou at a red-carpet event or launch a reality show together soon. But while we don't know much about their romance, we do know a little more about the couple as individuals. From fast-paced beginnings and gold medal victories to dietary requirements and net worths, here's a guide to the lesser-known half of the pairing that we think should give the Bennifer-like nickname of "Kordathanasiou."

Andreas Athanasiou has an interesting heritage

Nelly Korda was born in Bradenton, Florida, to two former tennis pros from the Czech Republic — Regina Rajchrtová and Petr Korda. "I love to get away and spend a lot of time with my family," Korda told reporters during a May 2024 press conference. "As a kid, my parents really instilled family values."

Korda's boyfriend, Andreas Athanasiou, has an international background as well. While the Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey center was born in Woodbridge, Ontario, his mother, Nadira, hails from South America's northern coast, specifically Guyana. His father, Stan, an airline pilot, grew up in the Greek capital of Athens. Athanasiou appears to be particularly proud of his Greek heritage. According to The Bruins Blog, he has expressed an interest in playing for the country in the Winter Olympics should the opportunity arise. The NHL star still takes part in several traditions derived from Greek culture, no doubt inspired by his father and the Greek godparents who also moved to the same Canadian province.

Andreas Athanasiou grew up in a sporting family

It's of little surprise that Andreas Athanasiou pursued the career he did. After all, he grew up in a sports-obsessed family. His older sister, Alisha, played baseball and basketball, his older brother Dimitri was into various extreme sports, and his father, Stan, was once a gifted cross-country runner. Andreas played everything from basketball to soccer while growing up. He was also skilled in track and field, winning the York Region Cross Country Run three years in a row. He was so disappointed about finishing runner-up in one particular race that he spent the following two weeks training with his dad in preparation for the next.

But it was hockey that became his true passion. He discovered the sport entirely on his own, playing the street version in the summer and then moving to the ice in the winter. Of course, hockey equipment doesn't come cheap. As well as borrowing equipment from the older siblings of his best friends, Andreas also saved up every bit of loose change he could get his hands on to buy all the necessary headwear, sticks, and shin pads.

Andreas Athanasiou has always been a fast mover

Andreas Athanasiou is known in the NHL for his lightning-quick pace. And it turns out that he's always been a fast mover, whether on the rink, the slopes, or the track. When discussing the part of his childhood spent in the Toronto community of Vaughan with Griffins Hockey, Athanasiou recalled, "I remember we'd be on the big hill in winter and I wanted to go straight down as fast as I could. I was a little speed demon. As a little kid, I had no fear." It was a similar story when Athanasiou first put on a pair of skates. His earliest memory is of holding his father's hand and then being hurled down the ice slingshot style.

And Athanasiou's need for speed on the basketball court also impressed the opposite sex, as former classmate Nadira told The Athletic: "He was a fast runner, so I'd watch him run down with the ball and stuff and shoot, and it was like, 'Woo!' So I called him for a date." Referring to the Will Ferrell film "Talladega Nights," Athanasiou summarized, "Like Ricky Bobby, I guess, I always wanted to just go fast."

Andreas Athanasiou is a supportive boyfriend

Although Andreas Athanasiou and Nelly Korda like to keep their relationship on the down-low, they're not averse to spending time with each other in public. And perhaps unsurprisingly, considering their respective careers, their public appearances usually involve sports. Athanasiou will often show up to support Korda on the golf course. 

According to Golfweek senior writer Beth Ann Nichols, he turned up to three consecutive LPGA Tour events in 2021. "Nelly Korda's boyfriend, Andreas Athanasiou, a center for the Los Angeles Kings, has been on the road with her the last three events," Nichols posted on X. "He signed some autographs today, too."

And Athanasiou may be something of a good luck charm: he was in attendance for her fifth career victory on the tour, carrying her bags and serving as her unofficial caddie. However, equally determined to prove her ideal partner's credentials, Korda often supports Athanasiou's career. After he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2022, she decided to sport one of the franchise's jerseys while competing at Canada's CP Women's Open. 

Andreas Athanasiou has a gold medal of his own

In 2021, Nelly Korda became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in women's golf since Margaret Abbott did it at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris (golf wasn't an Olympic event from 1904 to 2016). A decade earlier, Korda's other half reached the top of the podium in his respective sport.

Granted, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge might not have quite the same cachet as the Summer Games. But victory in the 2011 tournament still tasted sweet for Andreas Athanasiou, whose three assists and two goals helped Canada Ontario — including future fellow NHL stars Sean Monahan, Slater Koekkoek, and Tom Wilson — reign supreme over the United States.

Athanasiou was also a vital part of the team that beat the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada Pacific, and Canada West in the group stages and Canada Quebec in the semi-finals. That same year, Athanasiou helped his home nation beat Sweden in the final under-18s at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Andreas Athanasiou is close to his father

Andreas Athanasiou certainly didn't have anything to worry about when it came to show and tell. His father, Stan Athanasiou, surely had a cooler job than any of the other dads that came into class: an airline pilot for Air Canada. Speaking to Griffins Hockey in 2014, the NHL star explained that he's always been proud of the man who's been a constant supportive presence throughout his life: "He's my dad, so I look up to him. I remember being in kindergarten and being so happy to have him come into school. It was cool to have him come in and talk about his career. Flying a plane is such a cool job."

Andreas was able to repay some of the faith Stan invested in him when the Detroit Red Wings arranged a special trip to Dallas and Chicago with the players and their fathers. But old habits die hard, as Stan was determined to sit in the cockpit on the way there. His son told the Detroit Free Press, "I think it'll be a lot of fun. He's telling me to make sure he gets the jump seat. He wants to be up there."

Andreas Athanasiou was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings

After playing with the London Knights and Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League for several seasons, Andreas Athanasiou got his big break in 2012 when he was drafted into the NHL by the Detroit Red Wings — and he didn't lack confidence. The year prior, the center told Michigan Live he was ready to show the world what he had to offer: "I have the ability. My resume shows that. You can look back. I've had success. Everywhere I go, I do the best I can. I know if I get the opportunity I can produce. When you play with better players, you'll always be able to. If you put me alongside some of the NHLers, I know I'll be able to play for sure."

Athanasiou had to wait a while, though, to make his debut. He spent much of his first few seasons with the franchise's AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins. He eventually saw his first action as a Detroit Red Wing in 2015, scoring nine goals and five assists.

Andreas Athanasiou is a multi-millionaire

Following an impressive season with the Detroit Red Wings, Andreas Athanasiou re-signed with the franchise for a whopping $1,387,500. And this would just be the first of many lucrative deals the center inked over the next decade.

After leaving the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent in 2020, Athanasiou joined the Los Angeles Kings for a reported $1.2 million. Having racked up ten goals and 13 assists during his impressive first season with the franchise, he received a one-year contract worth $2.7 million. And the money didn't stop rolling in there, either.

In 2022, Athanasiou signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Blackhawks to the tune of $3 million. After scoring 20 goals and dishing out 20 assists during his first year with the Blackhawks, the Canadian was rewarded with a $4.25 million two-year extension. According to Sportrac, Athanasiou has earned $19,504,961 throughout his career. On the other hand, Korda has a reported net worth of $8.2 million (per Forbes).

Andreas Athanasiou nearly moved to Switzerland

Having started to establish himself with the Detroit Red Wings, Andreas Athanasiou suffered a career setback when new contract talks began to stall with the franchise. During his brief period as a free agent, the ice hockey center seriously considered plying his trade in Europe instead.

Talking to The Athletic a year later, Athanasiou revealed that he was fully prepared to sign with HC Lugano, the Swiss team he'd been training with if an offer elsewhere hadn't come in: "You had to be. The situation it was, it was going to end up one way or end up the other, and you had to be ready both ways, whether you like it or not. So it was maybe Russia, maybe in Switzerland, whatever it was going to be."

However, Athanasiou was swayed to stay in Detroit by an unlikely source: HC Lugano's coach Greg Ireland. "I said, 'Listen, whether it's playing in Russia or playing in this league, it's not the NHL,'" Ireland said. "You want to play in the NHL. Don't turn your back on it for a year, because once you do, then you're a KHL player, you're a Swiss league player ... But your job is to play at the highest level, and my advice to you is come here, skate every day and when the contract gets done, get ready." The Canadian subsequently took this advice and returned to the Red Wings.

Andreas Athanasiou achieved a late career-high

Many NHL experts wrote off Andreas Athanasiou's chances to help the Chicago Blackhawks after he joined the franchise in 2022. After all, when he signed on the dotted line, he was a grizzled veteran at the ripe old age of 28. Athanasiou silenced the doubters by delivering the best season of his career, scoring 40 points. He also played in 81 games, five more than his previous high with the Detroit Red Wings in 2018-19. Little wonder, then, that Athanasiou expressed a desire to stay.

Indeed, when asked by The Athletic about the possibility of a contract extension, the ice hockey center replied, "Yeah, I mean, that's out of my control obviously right now. You don't really get to pick and choose where. Anytime you get an opportunity to play in this league, it's an awesome thing. Obviously, that's in my head. I'd love to be a Blackhawk, for sure." Athanasiou did get his wish, inking a two-year deal worth $4.2 million. But sadly, not everything went to plan.

Andreas Athanasiou spent five months sidelined by injury

Andreas Athanasiou's NHL career was derailed in November 2023 by a severe groin injury that kept him out of action for nearly five months. In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago, the center admitted that he found the mental toll harder to deal with than the physical.

"There's a million thoughts that go through your head. I mean, I spent a lot of time at home and you sit on the couch and you think a lot, right?," the Canadian said. "So it's going home from the rink and you're aching and you're in pain and you're just thinking about it the whole time. It's never a fun feeling. There's so many doubts and thoughts that go through your head, it's kind of just put those in the back of your head and try to keep it as away from the work as possible."

Athanasiou missed more than four dozen games after suffering the knock in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He eventually returned to the rink in March 2024, helping his team beat the Anaheim Ducks 7-2. He went on to play the remainder of the season, netting three assists and two goals.

Andreas Athanasiou is vegan

You might not expect a man who built his career in the no-holds-barred world of the NHL to be living on millet, teff, and farro. But that's the staple of Andreas Athanasiou's diet after he converted to veganism shortly before reuniting with the Detroit Red Wings in 2017.

When asked by Detroit Free Press what inspired the lifestyle change, Athanasiou replied, "There's a couple personal reasons, but I thought it would be a good idea to try it out. I liked it, so kept rolling with it. You have to eat a little bit more, but it was pretty easy to go through it."

So, did Athanasiou's snubbing of all dairy, fish, and meat cause problems for his NHL team's nutritionists? Apparently not, according to dietician Lisa McDowell: "We make sure he gets enough B12, because vegans don't have enough B12 because that is an animal product source. We use a lot of plants, so it's pretty simple to meet his needs with a little more planning — things like quinoa have all the amino acids that we need. So we are doing beans, nuts, seeds, lots of great vegetables."

A rival player called Andreas Athanasiou a racial slur

In 2011, Andreas Athanasiou reportedly experienced the darker side of ice hockey when he was allegedly called a racial slur by an opponent. The incident reportedly happened in a game between the London Knights and the Guelph Storm, with the latter's Russian defenseman, Andrey Pedan, said to be the culprit.

Athanasiou, who's of Greek and Guyanese heritage, argued that Pedan called him a racial slur during one of many heated encounters. "He called me a pretty bad term today, which is not what I am, but it's unacceptable and shouldn't be in the game," he told NHL writer John Matisz (via Yahoo! Sports). "Especially with the ref right there."

Mike Kelly, the Storm's general manager, defended Pedan, who received a 10-minute dismissal for abusing an official during the same game: "He indicated that both players have been chirping each other about their playing abilities, draft status, etc., but there was no reference to race." Pedan, however, refused to address the media.

Andreas Athanasiou has a nemesis on the rink

Despite the fact they both played on the Canada Ontario team that won the gold medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, there doesn't appear to be any love lost between NHL stars Andreas Athanasiou and Jacob Trouba. Take the 2022 game between the former's Chicago Blackhawks and the latter's New York Rangers, for example. Athanasiou was furious after finding himself on the receiving end of a bone-crushing Trouba hit, with their respective teammates joining in with all the fisticuffs soon after. 

And the Canadian didn't mince his words in the post-game interview (via Yahoo! Sports): "That guy is known for hitting high, not really worrying about the puck out there, and almost trying to hurt people. That's his game; that's what he does. He's an $8 million man with zero goals, so he has to figure out how to do something when making that much. If you can't help the team, I guess you try to hurt guys on the other team." He continued, "He could've made a play on the puck. Instead, it's like [he had] an intent to try to hurt somebody. He's been known to do that."