At 21 years old, Leylah Fernandez is among the popular faces in the tennis world. Here are 3 things you may not have known about her.
Ever since Leylah Fernandez rose to fame after reaching the Final of the 2021 US Open at just 19 years old, she’s become one of the most well-known faces in the Grand Slam scene, especially among Filipino fans. As a Canadian with Filipino roots from her mother’s side and Ecuadorian roots from her father, she is an athlete with whom many tennis fans around the world can resonate.
Apart from being a talented tennis player, here are some things about Leylah Fernandez that you may not have known.
Tennis is a family affair
Since Leylah Fernandez got into tennis, her journey has been a family affair. Her father Jorge, a former football player, introduced her to the sport and even became her first-ever coach, helping her develop the foundations of her game. But this was not the only way her family set her up for success.
In a previous interview, Leylah Fernandez revealed that her parents had to sacrifice a lot to help her achieve her dreams. She openly shared that they had to sell their belongings to make it work, and she feels very lucky to have their support.
On top of this, Leylah also shares her passion for tennis with her younger sister, Bianca, who also plays professionally. They have even played together as a tandem in the 2022 Monterrey Open doubles tournament.
She loves adobo
Although Leylah Fernandez has admitted that she has yet to further explore her Filipino roots, she has shared that her grandfather (whom she lovingly calls ‘Lolo’), has opened her up to cuisine from the Philippines.
“Unfortunately, I do not know much about Filipino culture but I do know that Lolo cooks amazing,” she said in an interview from 2021. One of her favorite dishes that he cooks for their family is adobo — a Filipino classic.
Her dreams go beyond Grand Slam titles
Leylah Fernandez openly talks about her Filipino and Ecuadorian roots, but having been born and raised in Canada, one of her biggest goals is to win medals for her home country. In 2021, she got close to winning a Grand Slam title after reaching the finals of the US Open, but this year, her goals go past the Grand Slam stage.
In an interview with Olympics.com, she revealed that her goal this year is to represent Canada in the Paris 2024 Games. “I hope we’ll bring back many medals for Canada, fingers crossed!” she said.
Having already made her Olympic debut in Tokyo, she comes in this year with more experience and will be aiming higher than her second-round exit in the last Games. With this as one of her main goals, this is a big year for the 21-year-old.
Banner image from Leylah Fernandez on Instagram.