World No. 24 Leylah Fernandez said she and her father sat down and tried to find the game style that would suit her the best. Fernandez has a thin frame but she is a big fighter on the court and that led her to becoming a Grand Slam finalist this year.
Fernandez was ranked around No. 70 in the world when she made the US Open final this past September. “When we realized that I wasn't going to be the tallest or the most physically powerful player, we tried to build a different game for me.
We also took examples from other sports. My father being a football fan, he gave me the classic example: Messi. Despite his frame being much thinner and smaller compared to others, he is able to move in tight spaces at a speed that others cannot keep up with.
For tennis, from the start, I focused on the angles to force my opponents out of their comfort zone," Fernandez said, per We Love Tennis.
Fernandez happy with her end to the season
Fernandez was picking up early round exits for months before putting up a great run at the US Open.
“As a player I am not happy with my season. Obviously, I am very satisfied with the finish, but the first part of the year made me understand how I had to improve not only from a technical point of view but also mentally to be ready for the next season.
I want to play free mentally without thinking about the points to defend or the past results, and in that I have the great luck of having a great coach like my father who helps me to always be focused on the present," Fernandez explained to Punto de Break.
Fernandez is set to open her 2022 season in Australia. Fernandez has played twice at the Australian Open so far in her career. Fernandez has zero wins at Melbourne Park, having picked up first round exits at the tournament in 2020 and 2021.