Sports Leylah Fernandez, Félix Auger-Aliassime in Montreal after lengthy US Open runs
Home sweet home for budding tennis stars Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime
Nice is a word often used to describe Canadians and Flair Airlines couldn’t have found two nicer ambassadors than tennis stars Leylah Annie Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime. The two players, fresh off successful runs at the U.S. Open in New York, flew to Montreal on the low-cost carrier Tuesday and met with the media to discuss their experiences in the Big Apple, their shared love for Canada and Montreal, and their plans for the future. The The two players, fresh off successful runs at the U.S. Open in New York, flew to Montreal on the low-cost carrier Tuesday and met with the media to discuss their experiences in the Big Apple, their shared love for Canada and Montreal, and their plans for the future.
MONTREAL — Fresh off their attention-grabbing runs at the US Open, Canadian tennis stars Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime were all smiles Tuesday as they discussed their background as Montrealers and the impact they wish to have on future generations.
"I would like to see that I’ve inspired people and not only with my game, but with the person that I am. For me, that’s even richer than anything else I can do on the tennis court," Auger-Aliassime said.
He said he hopes children in Quebec, Canada and around the world will be inspired to believe in their dreams.
"We came from humble neighbourhoods of Montreal," he said. "If we can do it, I also believe that others can do it as well."
Magical run opens doors for Laval ace Leylah Annie Fernandez
A little more than two years ago, Jorge Fernandez was concerned about money. His 16-year-old daughter, Leylah Annie, had won the French Open junior title and was launching a professional tennis career. She was ranked outside the top 300 in the WTA rankings, which meant she was limited to events that offered little in the way of ranking points and prize money. “We’ve been working on a shoestring budget,” Jorge Fernandez told me after sitting down with Tennis Canada to discuss some financial help. “She’s going to turn pro and we’re going to need some heavy financing,” continued Fernandez.
Auger-Aliassime, who's been in the game longer than Fernandez, had nothing but praise for her during a news conference where the Quebec duo announced their roles as ambassadors for Flair Airlines, a Canadian low-cost carrier.
Fernandez and Auger-Aliassime both said it had been very helpful to follow and see each other play during the US Open, knowing they had a similar background.
"For me, it was fun, I was getting after every match, 'You know you are the second win from Montreal today,' so it was good," Auger-Aliassime said. Seeing Fernandez winning round after round"was a great feeling. I was proud of her every time."
A smiling Fernandez, who is from the Montreal suburb of Laval, said it also motivated her to do better and to match Auger-Aliassime's performance. "I remember when I was younger, we would watch you train and my dad would say, 'You are going to be like Félix. Work like him because he's so serious,'" she said.
Fernandez outlasts Kerber, Auger-Aliassime powers past Tiafoe to advance at U.S Open
NEW YORK — A pair of young Canadian talents keep proving they have what it takes to compete in a pressure-packed tennis environment on a historic stage against big-name opponents. Teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her stellar run at the U.S. Open by advancing to the quarterfinal of the women's draw on Sunday afternoon, hours before Felix Auger-Aliassime did the same on the men's side. The 18-year-old Fernandez from Laval, Que., earned a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over 16th-seeded German Angelique Kerber in the fourth-round match. Fernandez took control of the match in the decisive third set by twice breaking Kerber, a former world No.
Video: Previewing Canadians Leylah Fernandez, Felix Auger-Aliassime in the U.S. Open semifinals (cbc.ca)
Fernandez, who celebrated her 19th birthday during the tournament, made it to the final before falling 6-4, 6-3 Saturday to British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu. She defeated four seeded players along the way, including defending champion Naomi Osaka.
She said she's still trying to grasp her achievements and wants to use them as a springboard to continued progress.
"Everything is coming in so fast, but I am so happy that all the hard work and all the sacrifices over the years are paying off and that all my dreams are coming true," Fernandez said.
Her success capped a summer of sports achievement for Canadian women, beginning with the Summer Olympics and continuing with gold at the women's world hockey championship. Fernandez said it felt amazing to be part of that wave and to inspire people, especially knowing that traditionally fewer people follow women's tennis.
Auger-Aliassime out at U.S. Open; crowd fave Fernandez now carries Canada's hopes
NEW YORK — Felix Auger-Aliassime's dream of playing in a U.S. Open men's final will have to wait for next year. The 21-year-old from Montreal lost in straight sets Friday, dropping a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 decision to second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia. The loss leaves Canada's Grand Slam hopes on the shoulders of 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, who makes her debut in the women's final Saturday against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain. "Daniil was theThe 21-year-old from Montreal lost in straight sets Friday, dropping a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 decision to second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
"It’s really showing how women are fighting for their dreams, for their rights and they want to do what they can to bring more people into the sports and make them feel loved," she said.
Auger-Aliassime, 21, lost the semifinals on Friday to the eventual champion Daniil Medvedev. He said he believes his tournament helped raise his level of confidence after a season marked by highs and lows.
"I don't take this position for granted. I am privileged to be in this position where I do something as a living that I can inspire kids and other people," he said, adding that he's more determined than ever to win a Grand Slam tournament.
After their exits from the tournament, their wild New York run continued on Monday night when they received a last-minute invitation to attend the Met Gala, an annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.
"It kind of felt like I was Cinderella," Fernandez said. "The whole day, I was getting ready for that moment. It was cool, seeing all these creators, actors, designers who were there, athletes who've done so much in their respective sports. I was so glad to be part of it."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2021.
Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press
Canadians Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime advance to third round at U.S. Open .
NEW YORK — Canada's Leylah Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open with straight-sets victories on Wednesday. Fernandez moved on with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi. The closely contested match came down in part to Fernandez's better defence of break points. Fernandez, from Laval, Que., was broken once on eight break-point chances. The Canadian converted three of nine chances against Kanepi. Kanepi didn't help her cause with 50 unforced errors, compared to the 36 committed by Fernandez.