Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash is ready to advise Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez


Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash was an integral part of Leylah Annie Fernandez’s boxing during her run to the US Open Women’s Final.

Like Fernandez, Nash is Canadian and also an avid tennis player and fan who grew up with the legendary battles between John McEnroe and Björn Borg.

Now Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, is ready to offer advice or mentor if Fernandez, 19, and her camp need anything in the future.

“I was in contact with Leylah and her family, a wonderful family who obviously got a lot of things right,” Nash said on a Zoom call Tuesday in response to my question.

“So that she is so tough at a young age, but at the same time confident and competent, I am here to help when you need me, but you were just grateful that I was there to support you.”

Fernandez called Nash “an inspiration” after her semi-final victory over world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka.

“It’s a great inspiration, I remember my dad once used him as an example for a whole month and told us that we have to fight, we have to work hard, just like Steve Nash,” Fernandez began before leaving Nash called. “That’s why it’s an honor that you are watching me here and cheering me on.”

“And hopefully we can have a tennis match soon!”

Nash, an avid tennis player who trained with Marquette last season when the Nets were in Milwaukee, has competed in the Open several times this year, including one with Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu. Joe Tsai, the owner of Liberty and Nets and a Canadian citizen, even mentioned it on social media.

Fernandez beat three top five players before losing to teen Emma Raducanu in the final on September 11th. No. 5 Elina Svitolina; and No. 2 Sabalenka. She also knocked out three-time major winner Angelique Kerber.

Fernandez earned a $ 1.25 million paycheck by reaching the finals (Raducanu took home $ 2.5 million) and is now number 28 in the world after making it to the No. 77 was recorded.

Fernandez, born in Montreal, isn’t the only aspiring Canadian tennis star. Raducanu was born in Toronto but is now a British citizen. Bianca Andreescu won the US Open in 2019, making it the first Canadian to win a major.

In the men’s category, Felix Auger-Aliassime continued his run into the Wimbledon quarter-finals by reaching the semi-finals of the Open before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev. The Canadian compatriot Denis Shapovalov reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon and lost to Novak Djokovic.

“Canada is obviously having a great moment with tennis, with a lot of young players cracking the higher ranks, Denis and Felix to name a few,” said Nash. “Bianca and Leylah with the women, so it’s pretty fun to watch them play and it’s been amazing to watch them grow.”


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