NEW YORK | Behind the infectious smile she shows after her victories, there was a weight on Leylah Fernandez. She confided that it was a mentally difficult season, an election campaign in which she at times had the impression that she had taken a step back rather than forward Newspaper in an exclusive interview.
Also having “destroyed” her game a little, although she admits that it is not quite the right word (French is not the language she knows best), by wanting to copy her tennis to that of other players instead to work on their strengths.
But when she entered the “freezer” – as she calls the media center in New York where the air conditioning is running at full blast – on Wednesday to meet Le Journal, the Quebecer was relaxed.
Relaxed in her Lululemon tracksuit, with a one-two finish alongside American Taylor Townsend in her pocket, Leylah smiled easily.
Also an easy speech.
It was because she had “freed herself” earlier in the day, by posting a message on social networks in which she spoke exactly about the “mental battle” that is professional tennis and which sometimes “brings her to the point”. [ses] boundaries”.
She wanted to share her feelings
Tuesday hadn’t been easy. Two years after reaching the final at the US Open, Fernandez was eliminated in the first round in singles after a three-set battle lasting more than three hours against 22nd-seeded Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Photo Getty Images via AFP
Very tough, despite an often explosive performance that left many fans in suspense, Leylah gave herself a “2 out of 10” grade after this defeat.
“It was difficult for me because I had very high expectations of myself,” she admitted the next day. Afterwards I spoke to my team a bit and said it would be nice to be able to publish this news.
These words, which speak of “the days when the mental battle becomes overwhelming” and “the setbacks that are just a stepping stone to success,” the 20-year-old Laval resident declares are hers.
She still asked for help from those close to her, those who saw her “suffering” and “going through ups and downs” over the past year, to find the right forms of expression.
And it “felt good to write it.” Not just for them or their fans, but to add their voice to those of the players who talk about the difficult mental aspect of the race track, to reassure anxious athletes by reminding them that it can happen that they are in these long ones Times feel lost seasons.
“After a defeat we have very negative emotions,” she explained. We try to put a smile on our face after a game, but sometimes it’s difficult.”
“We try to be strong, to be machines, because that’s what people expect from us. But we are not machines.”
“Difficult to work hard”
When she talks about the difficult moments of this season, Fernandez doesn’t target any one in particular, even though there were the few defeats in the first round that contributed to her falling to 96th place from 13th last August.
It is more of a “global reflection,” she explains, emphasizing that she also had good times, including her numerous double victories.
“Except that in the last few months it has been a little difficult at times to work hard and continue on the right path.”
But now she claims she’s off a weight and is “ready” and “energized” for the rest of the season.
She smiled, her results in the last few weeks had already brought her to 67th place in the world rankings.
And after a 2 out of 10 performance the day before, her loss to Alexandrova became a match “decided by a few points” and in which she saw “progress” in her game.
“After my message, I accepted the defeat better, even if it still hurts.”
The free translation in French:
“I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts. Although I am disappointed with the result, I believe that both the victory and the defeat are part of this incredible epic that is the world of tennis.
Tennis is not just about physical strength and technique; It’s a mental battle that pushes me to my limits. Every game, every point tests my resilience and determination. And yes, there are days when the mental battle becomes overwhelming and doubts creep in.
But there is one thing: I know that I am not alone. Every athlete experiences moments of doubt. It’s what we do with these moments that defines us. I strive to learn and grow from these experiences, using disappointments to excel and become a better player. And more importantly, a stronger person.
I am grateful for the endless support of my incredible fans, my team and the people I love. Your encouragement gives me the strength to keep fighting even when things don’t go as planned. Remember: setbacks are just a stepping stone to success.
Although this latest outcome hurts, I choose to accept the process, the victories and defeats, and the lessons that come with it. Thank you for being by my side and I promise to continue to do my best.”