“Not My Father”: Leylah Fernandez Reveals Her Dad Is Absent From US Open 2021 and Cheering Her From Home

Published 09/06/2021, 4:55 PM EDT
Sep 5, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates after match point against Angelique Kerber of Germany (not pictured) on day seven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


For the teenage Canadian sensation Leylah Fernandez, playing Naomi Osaka on a night session at the Arthur Ashe stadium would arguably be the precious moment in her young sporting career. While it’s quite natural to get overwhelmed by the occasion, the youngster didn’t succumb to the pressure.

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Sep 5, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada hits a forehand against Angelique Kerber of Germany (not pictured) on day seven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Watch this story: Top Seeds Naomi Osaka, John Isner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, and Others who faced huge upset at US Open 2021

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Leylah Fernandez stunned the tennis world when she defeated Naomi Osaka at the US Open

Instead, Fernandez did the opposite by stunning defending champion Osaka to reach the fourth round at the on-going US Open. At one point during the contest, it appeared as if the Japanese player would win it in straight sets.

But, Leylah Fernandez held on to her nerves and relied on her baseline defense to force a second-set tie-breaker against the former world number one. In the tie-breaker, Fernandez forced errors out of Osaka as the latter lost the set and repeated the same level in the third set.

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada, right, shakes hands with Naomi Osaka Osaka of Japan after a third round match on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Arthur Ashe crowd got behind the Canadian in the final set and made her emerge victorious in an engaging battle under the stars in New York city.

Even in the fourth-round matchup against former US Open champion Angelique Kerber, the teenage sensation fought back from a set down to close the match.

“He’s been calling every day, telling me what to do” – Leylah on her dad’s advice

Ahead of a huge quarter-final clash against Elina Svitolina, Leylah was asked about the support her family has provided throughout the tournament. The young Canadian mentioned that her father didn’t accompany her to New York and stayed back home.

Well, first of all, the gentleman that’s in the box beside my mom is not my father. He’s my fitness coach. My dad is actually back home with my younger sister. He’s been calling every day, telling me what to do, so it’s been great”, replied Leylah Fernandez.

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada serves to Naomi Osaka of Japan on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadian continued, “Having them cheering me on every point has been very helpful. In those tough moments when I’m feeling down, with their positivity I was able to get back into it and forget about the mistake that I just did. Keep fighting, keep pushing through. Just, like I said, have fun on the court and trusting my game”. 

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The US Open this year has seen a lot of youngsters taking charge on the big stage and proving their mettle. Defeating two grand slam champions consecutively is no small feat and it will be intriguing to see how Elina Svitolina approaches this rising Canadian sensation in the quarter-finals.

DIVE DEEPER

All You Need To Know About Leylah Fernandez’s Parents

15 days ago

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Sagar Ashtakoula

376 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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