Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez, 19, admitted she was absolutely in awe when seeing seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams for the first time. In 2019, a 16-year-old Fernandez was handed a main draw wildcard into the National Bank Open in Toronto.
Toronto is a tournament from the WTA 1000 category so Fernandez had a chance to see and meet some of the biggest names of the game. “Back then I was just in awe seeing all these professionals,” Fernandez said, per the WTA website.
“I remember one moment, seeing Venus walking past me. I remember thinking, `OMG, Venus Williams just passed me.’ And then sharing the court with Simona Halep. I was nervous. I did not know how to talk to her during doubles.
It was one of those introductions to the tour”.
Fernandez happy to be back
Fernandez sustained a Grade 3 stress fracture at the French Open. Fernandez was visibly struggling during her French Open quarterfinal loss to Martina Trevisan, but refused to retire.
After the match, the scans revealed a serious foot injury. After missing out on the entire grass season, Fernandez is set to return to action in Toronto. “I think I’m just going to try and enjoy my time on court and, secondly, see how I feel physically and mentally,” Fernandez said.
“Because practicing I’m feeling great, but a tennis match is a whole new world. Hopefully, everything goes well. We can just get better tournament by tournament. Hopefully, by the US Open, I’ll be ready. But that’s in a long, long time”.
Last summer, Fernandez drew attention to herself when she made her first Grand Slam final at the US Open. Fernandez is expected to play Toronto and Cincinnati leading up to the US Open. It remains to be seen how Fernandez does on hard courts this summer.