“Making Us Not Miss Nadal” – Fans Compare Southpaw Leylah Fernandez to Rafael Nadal Following US Open 2021 Success

Published 09/10/2021, 1:54 PM EDT
Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning the first set tiebreaker against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez has been one of the breakout stars of this year’s US Open. Despite making only her second appearance in the hard court Grand Slam, Fernandez made a giant-killing run to reach her maiden Grand Slam final.

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With impressive shot making and a great serve, the southpaw brought a fresh outlook to women’s tennis. In fact, fans across the world drew parallels between the rising teen and Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal.

Fans compare Leylah Fernandez to Rafael Nadal following US Open run

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Since he turned pro in 2001, Nadal established himself as a dangerous player on the ATP Tour. With a strong serve and even stronger forehand, the Spaniard earned the ‘King of Clay’ moniker, while winning an astonishing 20 Grand Slam titles.

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 05: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during a match against Lloyd Harris of South Africa on Day 6 during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

During the US Open, fans noticed similar aspects in the way Fernandez and Nadal play. While some admitted the Canadian made them miss Nadal a little less, others pointed out similarities in their forehand shots.

Another fan also spoke about the 19-year-old’s backhand. He mentioned how her technique being like Nadal’s makes it an effective shot in her stroke play.

Fans didn’t spare her serve either, as one of them called its similarity to the Spaniard’s as unreal. In addition, the supporter also believed her breakthrough would come on clay courts instead of hard courts to emphasize those similarities.

While Nadal wields a tennis racket with his left hand, he signs autographs with his right. And Fernandez is similar in this aspect too, which a fan pointed out when she signed match balls after one of her shock victories in New York.

The women’s game has seen left handers make a mark. However, Fernandez drawing parallels with Nadal is arguably a huge benchmark in her career. Although matching his consistency levels will always be a challenge, the Canadian may have the tools to do so.

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Can Fernandez clinch her maiden Grand Slam title?

On Saturday, September 11, the Arthur Ashe Stadium will see Fernandez take on British teenager Emma Raducanu in an unprecedented final.

Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada hits to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Although Fernandez brings unbelievable tenacity, Raducanu is yet to drop a set in the tournament. Hence, the Canadian will face a tough test to cross that final hurdle and etch her name in the history books.

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Sanket Nair

643 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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