‘Acting like Federer didn’t work’ – Leylah Fernandez reflects on US Open learning
Leylah Fernandez has revealed what she has learnt most about herself from an astounding US Open run all the way to the final.
Emma Raducanu came out the victor in the teenage battle at the US Open, but the achievement of her Canadian opponent is similarly admirable.
Fernandez only just turned 19, and at 73 in the world before the US Slam, was also a highly unlikely pick to be a finalist.
When asked after the final what she learned most about herself over the course of the tournament, Fernandez gave a thoughtful and reflective answer.
“There’s one thing that really surprised me,” Fernandez began to reveal in her post-match press conference. “The more outgoing I am on-court and the more I try to get the crowd involved, the more I’m playing well.
“Usually when I was younger I’d try to be as calm as possible, just like Federer. But I’m glad that I’ve discovered that of myself that I play a lot better when I’m more outgoing, when I’m using the crowd to my advantage.”
Players at this year’s US Open enjoyed capacity crowds for the first time since the 2019 staging, something many expressed gratitude for throughout the tournament.
Fernandez was playing just her seventh Slam main draw in New York, with every previous appearance bar one having restricted or absent crowds due to the Covid pandemic.
The Canadian took full advantage of the ample support from the US crowd, propelling herself through a number of tough encounters en route to the final.
Despite being denied the ultimate triumph of a Slam title, Fernandez will achieve a new career-high ranking of world number 28.
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