June 2, 2023

Leylah Annie Fernandez: Who Is This Canadian Tennis Superstar?

Leylah Annie Fernandez

Anyone who has been able to experience a Grand Slam tournament live reaffirms the tremendous interest in enjoying junior tournaments in the second week of competition. Seeing how the great promises of world tennis share space and time with the elite is a boost to their careers and you can discover tennis players who, a few years later, fight for glory. Leylah Annie Fernandez has generated a great surprise at Roland Garros Junior 2019, not only because of her title but because of the way she achieved it. At 16, she did not lose a single set and showed versatile and powerful tennis. Her southpaw style creates a great challenge for her opponents as well. She has a great forehand and uses her athleticism and reach to cover the court well. The talented Canadian teenager continued to build on that and has produced a stellar pro career so far, culminating in a US Open  Final appearance in 2021. Let’s find out more about her.

Leylah Annie Fernandez: All You Need To Know

Who is Leylah Annie Fernandez?

Trained by her father, Jorge Fernandez, an Ecuadorian who emigrated to Canada as a young man, Fernandez suffered a severe blow at the 2019 Junior Australian Open after losing in the final to Clara Tauson. After the loss, a visibly dejected Leylah Fernandez said: “My goal this season was to win a Junior Grand Slam. I have been working a lot in Florida with my father and other coaches for a long time, making the decision to do very demanding practices in extreme conditions. Windy, hot or cold. I feel like that has me. prepared very well physically and mentally.” Fernandez also talked about how the success of fellow young Canadian tennis stalwarts such as Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov also serves as motivation for her. She said “Their successes motivate me to focus on them, on their ability to work and sacrifice to be better every day.”

How have coaches reacted to Leylah Annie Fernandez?

Her potential has not gone unnoticed by anyone and she made her Federation Cup debut in April in the tie against the Czech Republic, losing 6-4 6-1 to Marketa Vondrousova, but offering a very good performance. 

Where is Leylah Annie Fernandez from?

Leylah Annie Fernandez’ maternal grandparents are Filipinos, although she never had any doubts about whom to represent since she was born in Canada and has spent her entire life between Toronto and Montreal, before making a bet on her tennis future by doing stages in Florida. “My father has always trained me, although now he is more in charge of accompanying my little sister. I have received the support of the Canadian Tennis Federation,” said Leylah Annie Fernandez, whose sister is 15 years old and already excels in tennis. She is the first Canadian Junior Roland Garros champion, as Aliassime, Shapovalov, Bouchard and Peliwo had won other Junior Grand Slams, but not the French Open.

What did Leylah Annie Fernandez say about the French Open?

“It is my favorite tournament. My first tennis memories are of watching this event on television. My goal is to win all the Grand Slams one day. I am a fighter and I always leave everything on the court, that is my great weapon. I am going to play. the US Open Junior, being that my last junior tournament. I want to make the transition to professional tennis now “, said Leylah Annie Fernandez afterward. “My great inspirations are Justin Henin, on the women’s circuit, and the Big Three (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) among the male players. Their styles are very different, but they all share the fighting spirit, hard work and playing each point as if it were the last. “

Leylah Annie Fernandez didn’t disappoint with her career progression as she made her way to the US Open Final in 2021, beating three top 10 players (Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka) in the process. He eventually lost in the Final to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu who had to play through the qualifying tournament to make the main draw of the US Open. 

Leylah Annie Fernandez: Tennis Highlights

In 2017 she played her first tournaments within the ITF circuit playing both in the United States and in Canada.

Her first triumph on the WTA circuit was in 2018 in Quebec, beating her compatriot Gabriela Dabrowski, although she later lost to Britain’s Heather Watson.

Junior French Open

On January 25, 2019, she played the Girls’ singles final at the Australian Open, where she lost to top seed Clara Tauson. On June 8 of that same year, she defeated Emma Navarro in the Girls’ singles final at the French Open, becoming the first Canadian woman to win a junior Grand Slam title.

On July 21, 2019, she won her first professional singles tennis title after beating Carson Branstine in the Gatineau Challenger final and claimed her first professional doubles title teaming up with Rebecca Marino from Vancouver. A week later she played her second consecutive ITF final at Granby, losing to Lizette Cabrera.

Australian Open

She made her professional Grand Slam debut at the 2020 Australian Open and after qualifying, she lost to Lauren Davis in the first round. She earned the biggest victory of her career to that point the following week in the Federation Cup qualifying round against world number 5 Belinda Bencic.

At the end of February at the Mexico Open, she passed qualifying and reached her first WTA tournament final, where, after winning twelve sets in a row, she was defeated by world No. 69 Heather Watson.

Monterrey Open

A week later, she defeated Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens, reaching the quarterfinals of the Monterrey Open, falling to eventual champion Elina Svitolina.

In March 2021, at the Monterrey Open, she won her first four matches to reach the final and defeated Viktorija Golubic to win her first career WTA title. At eighteen, she became the youngest player in the main draw by winning the championship without dropping a set in the entire tournament.

US Open

At the US Open, she defeated third-seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in the third round, the former world No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the fourth round, and fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 3-6, 7- 6 (7-5), in the quarterfinals, on the way to her first Grand Slam semifinal.

It was the second time in the tournament that she defeated one of the top five seeds, becoming the youngest player to do so since Serena Williams in 1999. In a somewhat anticlimactic tournament final, she was defeated by Britain’s Emma Raducanu (who had to play the qualifying tournament to get into the main draw) in straight sets by 4-6 and 3-6.

After this performance, on September 13, 2021, she climbed to a career high 28th spot on the WTA rankings, the highest of her career. The Canadian teenager is expected to have another strong showing in 2022.

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