Leylah Fernandez candidly opens up on being 'very shy' as kid & 'bullied' by others

Fernandez, 21, opens up about her childhood.

by Dzevad Mesic
Leylah Fernandez candidly opens up on being 'very shy' as kid & 'bullied' by others
© Getty Images Sport - Harry How

Leylah Fernandez admitted she was "a very shy person" growing up and revealed there were times when she was getting bullied by others but didn't notice it until later. Fernandez, the top-ranked Canadian female tennis player, has a multicultural background as her father Jorge is Ecuadorian while her mother Irene is Filipino-Canadian.

Fernandez, who turned 21 in September, was born in Montreal. Even though Fernandez was born in Canada, she was always proud of her background and loved South American culture. But there were times when Fernandez felt insecure and "embarrassed" to bring South American traditional dishes.

Fernandez: I was a very shy person, didn't notice I was bullied

"I think, growing up for me, like I was a very shy person. I didn't notice when people would bully me. There were moments where I was sometimes embarrassed to bring my food like, Guatita.

It's a traditional food, Peruvian food, South American food, that's extremely hard to make, but it's super delicious and it does look very abnormal. So, that's like one dish where I did feel maybe a little bit shy or scared of what other kids would think.

I was just proud of where I came from, where my parents came from and where my grandparents came from, because I knew that what they wanted us to experience was just happiness, love and just acceptance. For me, the one thing that I would say, like, be proud of the food that you are going to bring because it's part of your culture.

It's part of where you come from, where your parents came from and you know, you kind of bring a part of your home and you're presenting it to the world because you are proud of it," Fernandez told CBC Sports.

Now, 2021 US Open runner-up Fernandez is one of the top Canadian female athletes. In November, Fernandez led Canada to their first Billie Jean King Cup title.

Leylah Fernandez