The reveal of the 2021 US Open revealed that she had to put pressure on herself to fully believe that she was the executioner of former world class players.
France Press agency
When Leila Fernandez was excluded from Canada’s youth tennis development program, her father, Jorge, a former Ecuadorean soccer player, became her coach in a sport he knew almost nothing about.
What Jorge Fernandez knew how to be a professional athlete and instilled in his daughter mental strength, patience, focus and confidence, the same traits she had learned the hard way on the soccer fields.
The results have made his daughter, who turned 19 on Monday, a formidable force at the current US Open.
In the third round, Laila knocked out four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka, and also in the second round, former top seed Angelique Kerber to become one of the top eight Grand Slams for the first time.
“Having him as my coach, and teaching me the simple truth of being competitive in the sport, definitely affected my game and my mentality,” Lila said of her father.
“I’ve been working hard, training very well. Be patient, be confident in your game, it will show in the matches,” says my father, my coach. I’m glad he finally did,” explained No. 73 of classification Globalism.
The new US Open star, who won her first WTA title last March in Monterrey, will face Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina on Tuesday in the quarter-finals.
Born to a Canadian mother of Filipino descent, the left-footed tennis player is also led by professional coach Roman Derder. His father is at home, but he still sends plans for games.
“He’s at home with my younger sister. He’d call me every day, telling me what to do, so it was great,” Laila explained. “He just tells me what to do the day before (the match) and then he trusts me and my game to execute as best he can.”
The Montreal-born has confidence built on years of work, from running when she hits a lot of misses to hone her skills and overcome the challenges she now faces.
“From an early age I knew I could hit anyone in front of me,” he said. “Even playing different sports, I was always competitive, saying that I would win, that I would beat my father in football, even though that is kind of impossible. I have always had that mentality. I have always tried to use that in every game I participate in” .
Jorge played for semi-professional teams in Montreal and his daughters wanted to follow in his footsteps. Although he did not want it, if not looking for himself, out of passion, the guaiaquile revealed to journalist Kenny Castro, in June 2019, after his daughter, Junior Roland Garros.
“I entered tennis to help my daughter, because I promised her that I would help her.”
“I had to pinch myself”
Lila has her mom and a fitness trainer in her box who encourages her and has become a favorite with Arthur Ashe Hall audiences.
“Having them cheer me on at every point helped me a lot. In those difficult moments when I am sad, thanks to his positivity I can forget the mistake I just made.
“Keep fighting, keep moving forward. Just have fun on the field and trust the game. Having fun on the field, I think that’s the key to anyone’s success,” he says.
Despite her self-confidence, energy and infectious vitality, Lille still doesn’t quite believe she’s still alive at this point in the US Open after facing two former world number one and falling behind in a set against both.
“I had to push myself a little to see what really happened,” he admits. “I will enjoy it one hundred percent and tomorrow (this Tuesday) will be a new day.”
The duel with Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, in the quarter-finals, is scheduled for 1:00 pm at Arthur Ashe Center Stadium and will be televised. ESPN. (Dr)
“Analyst. Web buff. Wannabe beer trailblazer. Certified music expert. Zombie lover. Explorer. Pop culture fanatic.”