“You’ll Never Make It”: Leylah Fernandez Remembers How a Teacher’s Discouragement Motivated Her to Be a Tennis Player

Published 09/10/2021, 7:39 AM EDT
Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates after her match 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: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


19-year-old Leylah Fernandez recently defeated World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in three sets to enter her maiden Grand Slam final. The Canadian has played some really fantastic tennis at the US Open 2021 so far and just like, Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina, Sabalenka too witnessed her great show. The final scoreline of the match was 7(7)-6(3), 4-6, 6-4.

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In the post-match interview, Leylah Fernandez shared a really intriguing tale about her childhood. She revealed that when she was a kid, one of her teachers told her to stop playing tennis as she would never be able to achieve anything out of the sport.

Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez celebrates after her match against Aryna Sabalenka. Day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

“A teacher told me to stop playing tennis, you’ll never make it, just focus on school,” said Fernandez in the interview.

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Clearly, the teacher’s tried to discourage Fernandez but her saying has been shattered away by the young prodigy. She not only achieved a huge number of things in the sport but has earned herself a huge name in it as well.

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Leylah Fernandez discloses that the teacher’s saying actually motivated her to do something big in tennis

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Even though the teacher’s saying was to prevent Fernandez from playing the sport, she instead used it as some words of motivation. In the same interview, she thanked her teacher and mentioned that after she said all this to her, she kept training really hard in order to accomplish her dreams in tennis.

Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez reacts after winning a point against Aryna Sabalenka. Day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m glad she told me that because every day I have that phrase in my head saying: I’m going to keep going, push through, prove to her everything I’ve dreamed of I’m going to achieve,” added the 19-year-old player.

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Leylah Fernandez will now face the United Kingdom’s Emma Raducanu in the finals of he US Open 2021. It is for the first time since 1999 that fans will witness an all-teen final at a Grand Slam. Will she be able to lift her first Grand Slam title in New York this year?

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Anshul Singh

1275 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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