Leila Fernandez, Centennial in Leadership

The features of the girl are not hidden in the face of Leila Fernandez. Every time a question is asked, his first reaction is a frank smile, as if it were a conversation between children; But her answers show the opposite: calm, discipline and the clear goal of becoming one of the best tennis players in the world.

Learn that success has no beginning or age limit. At the age of 18, she is making use of every second of her life to reach the top: she is studying a degree in business administration, and strives to set an example for her younger sister and she is already among the top 90 female tennis players in the world (her current ranking) is 88 years old, but has reached 86 in February).

“Now I’m studying business, after my tennis career, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do, it’s still a bit out of my mind, but I know I want to help kids more, and do it as a family, especially with my sister, start a company or open an academy”, as Tell El Economista.

Leila Annie Fernandez was born in Montreal, Canada, on September 6, 2002, so she no longer belongs to the millennial generation, but rather to the new category: the Centennial. In just three years of competing for the WTA, I won more than $ 500,000 in prize money, the Roland Garros Junior title and a grand final, at the Telsil Mexican Open 2020.

These and other final elements make Layla so enjoy being in Mexico that it is considered my “second home”. Not only was Acapulco, at the Monterey GNP Open, reaching the quarter-finals for two years in a row, plus she admitted to being pleased with the taco and the kindness of the people.

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With such joy, she will face Slovak Victoria Kuzmova (No. 28) in her first semi-final at the Monterrey Championships, on Friday afternoon; If he wins, he will face the winner in the duel between Anna Schmidlova and Sarah Sorribes, champion of Zapopan Open.

Lille says she started tennis since she was young thanks to the coaching of her Ecuador-born father, Jorge Fernandez.

However, 2020 was a great step in her career: she was the most advanced player in the world ranking, jumping 91 places (at the beginning of the year she was in 209 and ended up 118). With this jump, he was overtaken by Argentine Nadia Podoroska (leading 83 places) and Romanian Gabriela Talapa (78th).

Her major circuit debut was in October 2016, when she was only 14 years old, at the Hilton Head Island tournament, where she was knocked out in the first round. In 2017, he participated in 11 other championships approved by the International Federation of Tennis (IFT) and in 2018 made his debut in the WTA 1000 in his country, in the Rogers Cup in Montreal, where he earned $ 3,260.

But 2020 saw him reach his long-awaited dream: the Grand Slam, for which he prepared his whole life to study the path of successful athletes such as Mike Tyson, Lionel Messi or Pele. That year he appeared at the Australian Open, reaching the fourth round with a total of 40 WTA points won and a prize of over $ 62,000.

Then came his participation in the US Open and Roland Garros, where he achieved his best participation, to date, in a Grand Slam: advancing to the round of 32. Before she finished high school, she moved from 728th in the world to 88th.

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“It started when I was young with my family. Everything is competition at home, even cooking, my sister and I always want to know who cooks breakfast better,” he remembers with a laugh, but adds that the competition gets serious when talking about tennis: “It’s my passion and I want Always improving, to be better than my opponent, and this drives me to be a competitor and I know that I can reach the highest level in the WTA. “

Leila responds to this interview in somewhat fluent Spanish and with a calm tone of voice (he also speaks English and French), because the conference is one of the few relaxing moments in his busy schedule. When he’s not traveling for competition, he turns ears to his favorite music genre, 1980s rock, or eyes turn to Lucky Number Slevin, his favorite movie.

These are the only places where a night can rest like any other centenary that is not on the list of the top 100 tennis players in the world: “There are days when I am a good student, I do my homework and the exams I study are very difficult, but on other days, I am lazy A little bit and I want to watch a movie more, but it’s weird. I like to study, it’s a way to separate a little from tennis and that also works the mind. “

His stance gets more serious and he looks a lot older than 18 when he talks about supporting his family. He remembers how his father and coach, Jorge Fernandez, sold his car and home so he could travel with him, while his mother, Irene, “sacrificed a lot”.

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And they are not the only basis for it. His younger sister Bianca plays at least three roles: she is his partner in mischief in his few spare times during the year, and she is his motivation, and at the same time, she is the one he intends to promote with his example. , Because she also gets involved in tennis. “Bianca is my best friend,” she confesses, smiling.

Laila recalls that she also has an older sister who works as a dentist and adds another major character in her inspiration: “my grandfather, Oscar Fernandez,” from whom she learned the best advice of her short and disciplined life: “Be happy, when you are facing difficulties, always smile and then find solutions.”

In an interview at the age of 17, he told the International Tennis Federation that “since tennis is an individual sport, it is very important to have and maintain mental strength.” It is not a common phrase for a percentile. But it’s not your regular centenary either, as a girl, with less than 20 years old, is starting to take the lead in the tennis world.

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Amber Cross

"Music buff. Unapologetic problem solver. Organizer. Social media maven. Web nerd. Incurable reader."

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