The 2021 US Open women’s singles will forever go down in the history of world tennis as one of the most sensational tournaments of all time. Nobody would have imagined before the US major that 18-year-old British Emma Raducanu and 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez would meet in the final of the Grand Slam tournament.
In the first semifinal, the representative of Canada and the 23-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka met. The meeting ended with the victory of Fernandez in three sets – 7:6, 4:6, 6:4.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) September 10, 2021
Fernandez had beaten the third top-5 tennis player in the course of the tournament. Earlier the Canadian defeated Naomi Osaka (3) and Elina Svitolina (5). Before the US Open she had not had a single win over the top-5. In New York, Fernandez won four matches against the top-20 – she had only one win at that level before the tournament. She won all of those matches in three sets, taking tiebreaks along the way.
She had played soccer as a child, like her father Jorge, and was going to continue. But her dad decided that little Leila should have “her own way and sport,” CBC reported. So Fernandez went to tennis, but at age seven, it could all be over. Her parents tried to get their daughter into Quebec’s Talent Development Program, but were turned down there. “She was heartbroken,” says Jorge Fernandez. – “Other kids might have dropped everything and moved on to a new hobby, but not Leylah.
Leylah Fernandez’s current coach is Jorge Fernandez
As a result, her father, who had never played tennis himself before, began coaching his child. Leila started to play tennis seriously at the age of ten. At the same time her father assumed that in a couple of years Leila would want to give it all up. She was training with such mad dedication that some coaches said it usually leads to nothing good.
According to ESPN analyst Renne Stubbs (who spoke to Fernandez’s family), Jorge’s training style “resembled an Army regimen.” But it ended up helping Leila gain confidence in her strength and competitive skills for years to come.
But two more years passed, and then another, and another… And in 2019, Leylah Fernandez became the Roland Garros junior champion. All last pandemic year, the young Canadian tennis player competed in all sorts of competitions, including the Tokyo Summer Games. And often not without success. But she did not have such a breakthrough as she had at this year’s US Open.
Now Jorge Fernandez and Romain Deridder are training Leylah.
Post practice selfie with my coach, Romain! 📸 pic.twitter.com/tr5ewH3DO9
— leylahfernandez (@leylahfernandez) January 11, 2020
Romain Deridder, a Frenchman from Grenoble. “He’s here and he really focuses on my game,” Fernandez said. “He really understands what my dad and I want. He’s really helping me”- she added.
Leylah Fernandez after her victory over Aryna Sabalenka commented on reaching the final of the US Open.
My father always told me there’s no limit to my potential and capabilities. Every day we just have to keep working hard and keep moving forward. There’s nothing impossible. There’s no limit to what I can do. I’m just glad things are going well right now.