“Canada Opened up It’s Doors” – Father of Leylah Fernandez Chokes up While Speaking on Early Struggles

Published 09/09/2021, 9:30 PM EDT
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


Leylah Fernandez has taken this year’s US Open by storm. En route to the semifinals, she scored shock victories over Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina. Considering this is only her second appearance in the main draw, this is one of the best runs in recent history in New York.

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Although she’s made waves in Flushing Meadows, she didn’t always have things easy. Ahead of her semifinal clash against second seed Aryna Sabalenka, her father Jorge spoke about the struggles they faced as an immigrant family.

Jorge Fernandez opens up on struggles as an immigrant family

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Leylah Fernandez’s father, Jorge was a former Ecuadorian soccer player, while her mother, Irene Exevea hails from the Philippines. Along with two sisters, they came to Canada as immigrants, and made the country their home.

In today’s time, immigrant families don’t often have the easiest paths. However, some of them work extremely hard to make their own opportunities. Although Leylah‘s father played football, he took tennis coaching for the 19-year-old despite not knowing much about the game.

Despite not being in New York currently, he still helps her out in a major way. Speaking to Mark Masters from TSN Sports, he got emotional, and even choked up a bit when speaking about the struggles they faced as an immigrant family.

He said“It means everything. There’s a lot of talk in the news about immigrant people, and I understand. Nationalist sentiments, and I understand how we need to protect that, we have only so many resources, I understand that.

“I don’t want to get political. That’s not what I’m doing. What I’m telling you is we’re an immigrant family, and we had nothing. So, Canada opened up its doors, and if they wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have. And I wouldn’t have been able to give them to my daughter. So, it means a lot.”

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Can Leylah Fernandez claim another major scalp to reach the US Open final?

While she defeated three seeds in the Top 20, her biggest test comes in the semifinal today. In second seed Aryna Sabalenka, the 19-year-old could have one of her toughest games in the tournament so far.

Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point 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

Given her run of form and supreme confidence, one wouldn’t rule out another stunning upset from Fernandez today.

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WATCH STORY: Top Seeds Naomi Osaka, John Isner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Others Who Faced Huge Upsets at US Open

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Sanket Nair

624 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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