February is usually not a time for big news in the world of tennis. Tournaments do happen, but they are mostly smaller ones, sandwiched between the January Grand Slam, the Australian Open, and March's Indian Wells and Miami tournaments. But tennis is still being played, and for the keeners who are playing attention, one name is sticking out: Leylah Fernandez.
17-yr-old Leylah is more than just the new face on the Canadian court. She has the potential to be the new, well, you know who...
Exactly! So let's meet the latest example of why Canada is no one trick pony with a racquet!
Who is she?
Leylah Fernandez was born in Montreal in 2002 to Ecuadorean and Filipino parents. Her multicultural upbringing led her to master three languages (English, French, and Spanish). Her family is also very athletic and she and her younger sister Bianca turned to tennis early on.
What has she achieved so far?
2019 is remembered as the year of Bianca Andreescu. But while she was having the best year ever for a Canadian tennis player to date, Leylah was putting together a terrific season.
She appeared in two junior Grand Slam finals, the Australian Open and French Open, winning the French title of girls champion. She also won her first professional title on the International Tennis Federation circuit and emerged as one of the most exciting young players in the world.
The stage was set for her to make the leap to the big leagues to join Bianca.
What has she done in 2020?
We're glad you asked! We're only a couple months into the year, but the answer is: a lot! She played in her first Grand Slam as a women's player, gaining valuable experience.
Then in February she beat her first Top 10 opponent (World No.5 Belinda Bencic), appeared in her first WTA final (at the Mexico Open), and last week made it to the quarterfinals of the Monterrey Open by beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Leylah Fernandez was to make her first appearance in the main draw of the Indian Wells tennis tournament (the site of Bianca's breakthrough last year). But sadly, the event was cancelled due to concerns over coronavirus.
This unfortunately puts her young career on hold, but only briefly. What will her future bring? It's tough to say for sure, but one thing is for certain. Between her, Bianca, Denis, and Felix, it's so cool to have this many young players to root for!