Leylah Fernandez came up short in the U.S. Open final on Saturday against Emma Raducanu, but she won over a lot of fans with her comments after the match.
When asked about her improbable run to the U.S. Open final, Fernandez mentioned how next year she wants to be holding the “right trophy.” Obviously, she’s hoping next September she’ll be standing where Raducanu is right now.
Despite losing in the final, Fernandez will never forget how special the past few weeks have been for her. She knocked off several top-ranked players, such as Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina, en route to the final.
What really made the past few weeks so amazing for Fernandez was the fact that she had the chance to compete in front of a packed crowd in the Big Apple.
“I am very proud of myself for the way I played these past two weeks, and especially having the New York crowd back has been amazing,” Fernandez said while fighting back tears. “It’s definitely special for me to be here in a final and having you [the crowd] cheering me on.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021
Before the broadcast switched over to Raducanu to hear what she had to say about the match, Fernandez had a message for New Yorkers regarding the 9/11 attacks that took place two decades ago.
“I know on this day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States,” Fernandez told the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.”
"I know on this day it's especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years."
Leylah Annie Fernandez's message to the New York crowd. pic.twitter.com/JBmM6qmO1w
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 11, 2021
That heartwarming message from Fernandez shows just how mature she is for a 19-year-old.
Although this year’s U.S. Open final didn’t have the Hollywood ending that Fernandez was hoping for, she’ll have plenty of opportunities in her career to become a Grand Slam champion. After all, she already has the heart of one.