Leylah Fernandez: The Canadian Tennis Star

Leylah Fernandez first caught the attention of the tennis world as a junior, when she reached the final of the 2019 Australian Open in the women’s singles category, where she lost 6-4, 6-3 to Clara Tauson. Later that year at the French Open women’s singles, Fernandez would go one step further and become the first Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam title since Eugenie Bouchard at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. Leylah Fernandez’s career high point is the 2021 US Open where she reached the final before losing to Emma Raducanu. However, Leylah Fernandez hasn’t been able to capitalize on that run and cement herself in the WTA Top 10 since then.

Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Leylah Fernandez

Leylah Fernandez turned pro in 2019

Turning professional in 2019, Fernandez would achieve her first title at the Gatineau Challenger, beating her compatriot Carson Branstine in the final. That same day, Fernandez would win her first senior doubles title, partnering with Rebecca Marino.

Leylah Fernandez made her Grand Slam debut in 2020

In her Grand Slam debut, at the 2020 Australian Open, Leylah Fernandez was defeated in straight sets against Lauren Davis. However, it seemed that the experience had been great for the young Canadian, since just a week later, Fernandez defeated a Top 10 player for the first time by beating Belinda Bencic in the Billie Jean King Cup.

Leylah Fernandez reached her first WTA Tour Final in 2020

Leylah Fernandez continued to progress, reaching her first WTA Tour final in February 2020 at the Mexican Open, before losing to Heather Watson and at the 2020 French Open reaching the third round, defeating 31st seed Magda Linette in the way before falling to Petra Kvitova.

Leylah Fernandez won her first WTA tournament in 2021

At the 2021 Monterrey Open, the 18-year-old achieved victory for the first time on the WTA circuit, without dropping a single set in the tournament. However, it was at the 2021 US Open that Leylah Fernandez made herself known on the world stage.

Leylah Fernandez had a memorable US Open in 2021

In a race from less to more to the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Leylah Fernandez would defeat three of the top five in the world rankings. After coming back from a set down to defeat world number three Naomi Osaka in the third round, Fernandez would bounce back after losing the first set to Angelique Kerber in the round of 16. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina and second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka saw off her in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, before the Canadian suffered a major setback in the final against Emma Raducanu.

Leylah Fernandez (left) with the runner’s up trophy at the 2021 US Open

After her time at the US Open, Fernandez rose to 23rd place in the world rankings and secured a place at the Indian Wells Open for the first time in his career. After defeating Alize Cornet and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Fernandez fell in the fourth round to Shelby Rogers.

Leylah Fernandez defended her Monterrey Open title in 2022

Leylah Fernandez hoists the 2022 Monterrey Open Trophy

In 2022, Fernandez would repeat her success at the Monterrey Open and defend her title, saving five championship points against Camila Osorio in the final. At Indian Wells she should avenge her loss the previous year to Rogers, before suffering a loss to Paula Badosa in the fourth round.

At the 2022 French Open, Fernandez impressed again by reaching the quarterfinals after beating Kristina Mladenovic, Katerina Siniakova, Belinda Bencic and Amanda Anisimova before losing in three sets to Italian number one Martina Trevisan.

Leylah Fernandez has a tennis player sister

Leylah Fernandez (right) with her sister Bianca Fernandez

Leylah’s sister, Bianca Fernandez, is also a tennis player and the duo played as a team in the women’s doubles at the 2022 Monterrey Open suffering a first-round defeat.

Leylah Fernandez is a victim of bullying

Leylah Fernandez talked about her childhood and admitted that she was a shy girl who did not realize that others bullied her. The Canadian tennis player spoke with CBC Sports in the middle of her preseason training, preparing for the next Australian Open in a month.

Fernandez had struggled to establish herself on the WTA circuit since her fantastic performance at the 2021 US Open, where she reached the final but lost to Emma Raducanu. Despite the ups and downs suffered by her throughout much of 2023, a strong push at the end of the year allowed her to recover positions and finish the year as number 35 in the world.

The 21-year-old tennis player revealed her most personal side by delving into her childhood and expressing her pride in her heritage and traditions. She emphasized her shyness: “I think growing up I was a very shy person. I didn’t realize when people harassed me,” she said.

Leylah Fernandez was insecure about her traditional food

Daughter of immigrants, her father is Ecuadorian and her mother is Filipino: “There were times when I was sometimes embarrassed to bring my food, like guatita. It is a traditional food, Peruvian food, South American food, which is very “It’s hard to make, but it’s super delicious and it looks very abnormal. So it’s a dish where I felt a little shy or scared of what other people would think,” said the former world number 13.

Despite reservations, Fernandez was proud of her roots: “I was proud of my place of origin, that of my parents and that of my grandparents, because I knew that what they wanted us to experience was happiness, love and acceptance,” she added. Leylah Fernandez.

“For me, the only thing I would say is be proud of the food you’re going to bring because it’s part of your culture. It’s part of where you’re from, where your parents came from, and you know, you bring a part of your home and present it to the world because you are proud of it,” she concluded.

Leylah Fernandez went back to Montreal to reignite her tennis passion

“I wanted to explain why I decided to return to Montreal, my hometown, to do the preseason,” he declared. “Training here is not just a matter of hits, but also of memories engraved in each one of them. These are the places where my passion for tennis was born. Going back is like turning the pages and continuing the journey that brought me here. There is a unique energy here that fuels my determination. Every training session, and every race is a nod to the deep roots. With an eye on 2024.”

However, in the doubles category, the Montreal-born player finished as runner-up at Roland Garros, where together with her partner Taylor Townsend they lost to the pair formed by the Taiwanese Hsieh Su-Wei and the Chinese Wang Xinyu by 1-6, 7-6(5) and 6-1.

Leylah Fernandez was honoured with the Tennis Canada Excellence Award

Leylah Fernandez joined her young compatriot  Felix Auger-Aliassime in bagging the 2023 Tennis Canada Excellence Awards.

Both are considered the most sought-after players in the country in the women’s and men’s categories. Despite not having a great year at the highest level, Fernandez and Auger-Aliassime won the Player of the Year and Individual Player of the Year awards, respectively.

Tennis Canada announced this in a message published on its official account of the social network X, formerly known as Twitter. A one-time Grand Slam runner-up, Fernandez played in the main round of all four major tournaments in 2023 but failed to qualify for the third round or beyond in any of the competitions.

She was eliminated from the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon after losing the second round eliminator. At the US Open, the 21-year-old was eliminated after losing the first round eliminator against Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.

On the other hand, Aliassime also played in the main round of the four Grand Slams and only managed to qualify for the fourth round on one occasion. Her best performance was at the Australian Open, where she was eliminated in the fourth round against Czech Jiri Lehecka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6.

Leylah Fernandez was doubtful for the 2024 Australian Open

Leylah Fernandez had withdrawn from the WTA 500 Adelaide Tournament, scheduled for January 8-13. The Canadian was confirmed in the main draw of the tournament and was two places away from direct registration.

However, before her withdrawal, she would have had to start in the qualifying phase, since the last place in the draw until then was reserved for world number 32, Lesia Tsurenko.

No reasons had been given for Fernandez’s absence in Adelaide, but it is raising concerns just a week before the start of the 2024 Australian Open, where the Canadian had secured her spot as the 32nd seed. Fortunately, Leylah Fernandez managed to recover in time for the Australian Open and defeated unseeded Czech player Sara Bejlek 7-6, 6-2 in the first round of the tournament.

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