MONTREAL – After falling into a showbiz whirlwind after her unexpected run to the US Open final, Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez said she now feels like Cinderella.
The 19-year-old is celebrated worldwide with US Open winner Emma Raducanu after her electrifying run in Flushing Meadows.
After an intense fortnight, Fernandez let her hair fall as she rubbed her shoulders with some A-list celebrities at the Met Gala in New York and appeared on chat shows. She has also signed new sponsorship deals.
“It felt like I was Cinderella,” she said of the Met Gala event while sitting next to her Canadian tennis player Felix Auger Aliassime.
“Everything comes so quickly.”
While her profile has now reached new heights, there are a few things Canadian doesn’t want to change – like having her father Jorge remain her head coach.
Jorge, an Ecuador-born soccer player who initially knew little about tennis, helped Fernandez beat three top 5 seeds on the way to the final, including defending champion Naomi Osaka.
“I’m just lucky to have him as a coach and father because he’s been there from the start,” Fernandez, who rose from 73rd to 28th in the WTA rankings in just two weeks, told reporters in Montreal .
“He knows me from the start and knows what to do and when is a good time to take a break and when is a good time to involve others.
“At the end of the day, I know that my father will be long on the whole.”
At a time when US gymnast Simone Biles and Osaka were putting the mental health of athletes in the spotlight by exposing their struggles to cope with the pressures of expectation, Fernandez credited her “team” with support.
“I’m only trying to do what I can do, what I can control,” she said.
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