Anonymity is over for Leylah

BOYNTON BEACH, FL | How do you reward yourself when you are 19 years old and played your first Grand Slam final? By buying a nice car? No, when you’re Layla Fernandez, treat yourself to poutine.

“After the US Open, I spent a few days in Montreal. I took the opportunity to review the places where I trained for a long time, visit the city, eat some burgers and poutine. Poutine is very important!” laughs Quebec.

The magazine interviewed Lily with her father and trainer, Georgie, near the family’s home in Boynton Beach. The new tennis star had just returned from training. It was 6:30 pm.

So the vacation was short-lived for Lila.

After taking a vacation these days in Montreal, where she also met family and friends, Fernandez returned to Florida to improve her game.

It still hurts

Because even three weeks after unexpectedly reaching the final round of the US Open, the young player is still struggling to get something positive out of her impressive performance.

Just minutes after her 6-4 6-3 departure against Britain’s Emma Radocano, another new WTA star, the original Lavalloise said it would be difficult for her to “recover from this day”.

Time passed, but the results remained the same.

“I’m happy with what I accomplished at the US Open, but this defeat still hurts me,” Quebec admits. I’m still analyzing the match, and I’m saying to myself ‘Ah there, I didn’t do well,’ which made the difference in the crucial moments. “

Despite this constant pain, Fernandez is enjoying her new notoriety, which she earned during those two weeks when she beat in quick succession four of the nominees for the championship.

The young athlete ranked 73 in the world before the US Open, today he is 29NS WTA rank. His performance to the final allowed him to earn US$1.25 million (about C$1.6 million), almost double his pre-tournament earnings.

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very wanted

Jorge Fernandez says he spends long moments each day trying to filter and fulfill various partnership requests so that his daughter can focus fully on tennis.

Indeed, since its end, the anonymity has ended. When Lily practices at the Delray Beach Tennis Club, a few miles from her home, spectators sit in the bleachers to watch her.

And she loves him. Just like getting to know her on the streets of Montreal, close to where she grew up. This was the first time people had asked to take pictures with them. I was surprised, but had a lot of fun, Laila says with a smile. it is a dream ! “

“I love when people come to see me train. She adds that this puts me in a competitive position. When I train in front of the crowd, I want to put on a good show, have fun on the court, so people don’t see me as just a serious girl.”

always harder

And when you think about it, three weeks later, is the road to the Grand Slam final easier or more difficult than you imagined?

“It’s harder! Fernandez laughs. Now it will be more difficult. But I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to the next Grand Slam, and I’m looking forward to my next tournament.

These difficulties are a privilege. it’s my dream. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was five years old. “

Indian Wells, Test Lu

Leylah Fernandez will return to competition starting Wednesday as part of the Indian Wells Championship. She knows that because of her performance in New York, other players will be waiting for her.

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You will now be a player to beat.

“But it’s a new tournament, a new week,” she considers. I come back with the same mentality: I want to win the championship. But you have to take it one point at a time, one game at a time. I want to enjoy every point and every match, and I will implement the game plan as best I can. “

Yet she hates it oral presentations

Leila Fernandez’s speech after losing the US Open. The women’s final was contested on the day to commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. “I hope to be as strong and resilient as New York has been for the past 20 years. Thank you for supporting me throughout the tournament,” she said on the court, in front of Mary Jo Fernandez’s microphone. Former world number one Andy Roddick called those words “the most mature” he’d heard after the match. But Fernandez admits she wasn’t always eloquent when speaking to the audience. “I hated oral presentations at school! indicated. I even started crying in front of the whole class. “

be an artist in the field

When you reach the final of a major tournament at the age of 19, what next?

For Leyla Fernandez, this course at the US Open is a springboard for the rest of her career, which she hopes will culminate in Grand Slam titles and an appearance in the world’s top 10. But Québécoise also has more “poetic” aspirations.

“I want to be an artist in this field,” she says. “I will work every day until the player tells herself she will do anything to beat me and I tell myself the same. That we have a battle on the field and that at the end of the match, there are smiles and tears. I want to inspire.”

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Miami direction to avoid congestion

Leila and Jorge would like to add a coach to their clan in the coming weeks, but they are also looking to get closer to Miami, where the player trains with physical coach Douglas Cordero. Douglas is the very expressive guy we often saw in the Quebec box during the US Open. He works with many players, including Austrian Dominic Thiem. “He’s funny, he has a lot of emotions. I love this!” confirms Fernandez. But the road between Boynton Beach and Miami sometimes takes an hour and a half due to traffic jams. Precious time Fernandez loses in the car several times a week.

was my dad Turn off the TV

Was his father George proud when he heard his 19-year-old daughter make such a speech on the world’s largest tennis court?

He says, “I didn’t hear.. I turned off the TV.” When I watch his matches, I feel like a coach. Once the game is over, I have to take notes and get ready for the next game. “

But apparently a lot of people showed him the video later. Yes, my dad is proud. “I’m glad she had a chance to express herself in this way,” he notes. Moreover, even if his daughter makes it to the final, Jorge Fernandez says he does not regret staying in Florida until the end of the tournament. He won’t be in Indian Wells either: he will instead be accompanied by Lily’s sister, Bianca, who will simultaneously play the ITF Championship in Redding.

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