Leylah Fernandez's brutally honest admission about watching WTA, Novak Djokovic

Fernandez asked to name her favorite ATP and WTA players in San Diego.

by Dzevad Mesic
Leylah Fernandez's brutally honest admission about watching WTA, Novak Djokovic
© Getty Images Sport - Orlando Ramirez

Leylah Fernandez admits it is "hard" for her to enjoy watching women's tennis since she is looking at them as her "competition" but reveals it's a different thing when it comes to men's tennis.

Fernandez, 21, has been around the WTA Tour for a couple of years now and she burst onto the scene early when she made the US Open final as an 18-year-old teenager in 2021. Since then, Fernandez has gone through some difficult and challenging periods but she has still managed to win two WTA titles and nothing has changed in her goal of becoming one of the best in the game and doing big things. 

At this week's WTA 500 tournament in San Diego, Fernandez - now ranked at No. 32 in the world - acknowledged she watches women's tennis but admitted it usually happens so she could analyze other players and use it to her advantage. 

"I don't know. It's a little hard because I'm watching tennis with kind of like a competitor's eye, so not really much as a fan. So, sometimes when I watch tennis, I'm watching it to analyze each player's game, my game, to see what I can do against them so it's a little hard right now to say which player gets me excited to keep watching," Fernandez said when asked to name favorite players on the ATP and WTA Tours.

Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Fernandez likes watching Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz

When it comes to watching men's tennis, former world No. 13 Fernandez admits she can probably do that as a fan and enjoy it a little bit more since she won't be facing any of those players. After explaining that part, the 21-year-old Canadian mentioned Djokovic, Alcaraz and Andy Murray as male players she enjoys watching.

"But on the men's side, that's a little bit easier because I'm not going to be playing against them. It's always exciting to watch Alcaraz play, how he brings the intensity, the variation he gives his opponents," Fernandez said. 

"And then also Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Andy Murray has gone through so much the last couple of years and the way that he just keeps fighting and finding a way, like it's always entertaining to see what he does next."

Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez© Getty Images Sport - Minas Panagiotakis

Also, Fernandez mentioned Alexander Bublik, who she described as "a highlight reel" and someone who always "does something crazy" on the court. 

Fernandez retired in her San Diego opener

Meanwhile, Fernandez played her opening match at a WTA 500 tournament in San Diego on Tuesday, Fernandez, seeded at No. 8, won the first set 7-6 (7)against Tatjana Maria but was 0-4 down in the second set when she retired from the match due to an injury. 

When the match started, Fernandez broke Maria in the very first game of the match before saving two consecutive break points in the following game to open a 2-0 lead. Already up by a break, Fernandez earned her second break in the third game and again saved two consecutive game points in the fourth game to go 4-up.

Down by two breaks, it looked like the first set was lost for Maria. But then 47th-ranked Maria served out the fifth game to get on the board and got one break back in the sixth game. After getting one break back, Maria also managed to get the second break back in the 10th game - the game in which Fernandez was serving for the first set. 

After impressively managing to get back into the first set, Maria also opened a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. However, Fernandez responded, winning six of the next eight points to take a 6-5 lead and earn the first set point. Maria saved that set point - then also won the next point to go 7-6 up and clinch her first set point - before Fernandez won the next three points to a very tight first set with a 9-7 scoreline in the first-set tie-break.

Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez© Getty Images Sport - Orlando Ramirez

After winning the first set, Fernandez missed out on two consecutive game points in the first game of the second set as Maria claimed an early break. Two games later, Fernandez got broken again as Maria took a 3-0 lead before routinely serving out the fourth game to go 4-0 up in the second set. Down by a double break in the second set and struggling with something, Fernandez retired from the match.

For Fernandez, the main thing now is to recover from the issue that forced her to retire against Maria and be able to compete at a WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, which starts on March 6th.

Leylah Fernandez Novak Djokovic