As a youthful woman, Leylah Fernandez first dreamed of turning Proper into a soccer participant, Similar to her father. However he had completely different ideas.
“I do not think about A toddler ought to go Proper into a sport as a Outcome of her mom and father are in it,” Jorge Fernandez said. “I would like it to beprolonged to her.”
Barely Greater than a decade after choosing up a racquet, Fernandez, 19, has convincingly laid declare to tennis, getting ready to compete Inside the U.S. Open semifinals, An important match of her automotiveeer So far.
She took Ny by storm and Abruptly by defeating deffinishing champion Naomi Osaka and former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber. Her semifinal victory over Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus secured her shot at a Grand Slam title.
Montrealers who know her from her childhood say it was A very Very prolonged time coming.
The rising tennis star Needed To beat pushagain on her house turf prolonged earlier than getting her shot at a match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Fernandez, centre, and her househprevious moved from Quebec to Florida To assist her automotiveeer. (Leylah Fernandez/Instagram)
As a budding tennis participant, she found the sting of rejection early in her automotiveeer when Tennis Quebec’s enchancment program dropped her when she was solely seven years previous.
“When she Acquired here across, she was actually coronary heartbroken,” Jorge said, hpreviousing again tears.
“Some youthfulsters get dissatisfied After which they’re off to The subsequent new toy, but she felt it.”
Since then, Jorge has coached his daughter, regardless of not having any earlier tennis expertise.
Early on, he entertained The probcapability that she might want to give up after A pair of years, but she by no means did.
Love-Star Alexis, a Highschool frifinish of Fernandez at École secondaire Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who used to practise Collectively with her on the tennis courts, says she knew her former classmate On A daily basis had the potential To Wind up to be a superstar.
Alexis said she primarytain in thoughtss Fernandez spfinishing A minimal of three hours a day on the courts, repeating The identical photographs As quickly as extra and again Collectively with her father, and devoting An further hour to health teaching.
WATCH | Family and frifinishs say Fernandez is proof That strong work pays off:
Family and frifinishs of Leylah Fernandez say sHe is proof That strong work pays off
“A lot Of people Do not put in that a lot work And in addition handle school,” Alexis said. “I primarytain in thoughts people would say ‘Oh my God, sHe is so loopy for teaching Tons, It is not going To steer anyplace,’ but she proved The exact reverse.”
Her former Highschool classmate Kylian Mairesse says the reserved Fernandez typically missed class for competitions, but her fellow college students celebrated her victories — In the event that they Acquired here across about them.
“She wasn’t somebody who ever bragged about worthwhile,” he said.
To close frifinishs, Alexis said, Fernandez is “actually talkative and actually humorous” However in addition “On A daily basis focused.”
Sylvain Bruneau, head Of women’s Professional and Transition Tennis for Tennis Canada, said he recollects Fernandez’s sheer willpower to succeed, even at age 11.
“SHe is not An monumental participant, but she has An limitless coronary heart And huge willpower,” he said.
Fernandez, second from right Inside The primary row, and frifinish Love-Star Alexis, third from right Inside The primary row, educated together as youthfulsters. (Submitted by Love-Star Alexis)
“I used to be actually impressed, even then, Collectively with her capability to take the ball so early … [and] simply The biggest method she was In a place to focus for 90 minutes non-cease.”
“In the tennis world These days, The women are terribly huge And actually tall And extremely effective, And she or He is a little completely different.”
Bruneau said Fernandez’s agility and, above all, her mental power compensate for her “schoolwoman” stature, including that her success Inside The sport would popularize tennis amongst youthful women.
“I really feel she reveals everyone, Do You’d like to Really want it dangerous And also You are prepared to do no matter it takes, every thing Is potential,” he said.
Despite her newfound fame, Fernandez’s father says coming from a “two-automotive and mortgage” house retains his daughter grounded.
However like People who knew her as she labored to greatness, he furtherly understood that Fernandez’s willpower would take her places.
“It is anticipated. We educated so exhausting,” he said.
“It was Only a matter of ready for it to transition to The huge stage.”
Fernandez reacts after defeating Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine, By way of the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships on Tuesday, in Ny. (Elise Amfinishola/The Associated Press )