Jorge Fernandez isn't surprised with his daughter Leylah Fernandez's run to the US Open final. Jorge, who works as Leylah's coach, insists competing against the older and more experienced players is nothing new to his daughter.
Fernandez, who turned 19 this week, shocked Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka en route to making the US Open final. “I watched her win the U16 Nationals when she was 12. She was obviously playing with players that were much bigger, much more experienced, much stronger than she was.
I remember just watching her coming to the net, volleying, right? She would just turn around and little fist pump, just walk away like as if it’s something completely normal, like she’s been doing it for many, many years," Fernandez senior said.
Fernandez plays without fear
Osaka and Kerber are former world No. 1s, while Sabalenka is ranked at No. 2 in the world and Svitolina sits at No. 5 in the world. Fernandez used to watch some of the biggest names on the biggest name and that motivated her to one day be in that position.
“I think that poise has come from her watching a lot of tennis, watching some of the big names, the YouTube clips, watching the matches. She’s constantly analysing what happened at this time, what happened when this happened.
She’s a great student of the game. I think that brings that poise that we see in her, able to do what she’s doing because she’s watched it so much. Although she hasn’t lived it, she has watched it," Jorge explained.
“She’s kind of acting with the same poise that past champions have done, like (Justine) Henin, like (Steffi) Graf, right? Like (Bjorn) Borg, right? Even (John) McEnroe, right? Watch that lefty serve. After he’s done being a little bit rambunctious, there’s a moment of clarity that happens.I think she’s just learned from past champions on how they recuperate and keep their poise. That’s what we’re seeing, even though she doesn’t have her own personal experience”.