Fernandez ready to return to court

For a professional tennis player, a racket is Tools of the Business – The hardware of choice that pays the bills. But for a few weeks this summer, Leyla Fernandez suffered from a painful separation from her Babolat Pure Aero.

“I was trying to get back on the tennis court, and my dad was saying, ‘No. Don’t do that,'” Fernandez told Toronto on Saturday. “I admitted it was going to take some time — that All I had to do was hang my rackets for a while, hid them in the closet, trying not to see them.

Toronto Draw: Swietec, Serena, Azarenka, Osaka, Muguruza in loaded top quarter

“It was one of those moments that I had to master.”

When you’re only 19, patience is rarely a virtue. After suffering a Grade 3 stress fracture to her right leg at Roland Garros, the US Open finalist struggled to get over the emotions that came with a serious injury. Like Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin and other colleagues recently learned during long sabbaticals, it ain’t easy.

“It’s been a roller coaster since Roland Garros,” Fernandez said. “All my feelings. I was depressed, heartbroken a few days later and then back home. And then got more bad news from the doctor that it was a stress fracture and you shouldn’t put any weight on it.

“The happiest moment was when I was able to take my boot off. The doctor said, ‘You can take the boot off, but you won’t be ready to exhibit at DC’ so I was happy for five seconds, sad for the next 20 minutes.

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Fernandez was even happier a few days ago when her doctor gave her the green light to return to competition after more than two months away from the sport. She is the number 13 seed in loaded field at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers and will play a first round qualifier. Good News? The Montreal native is back home in Canada in front of familiar fans, family, and friends.

Toronto: Score | draw | play order

Bad? 1 Inga Swietake, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, multi-major winners Victoria Azarenka, Garbine Muguruza and Osaka, as well as Olympic singles gold medalist Belinda Bencic, are in the absurdly talented top quarter of the draw.

Fernandez said, “I feel great, feel happy that I am back on the court.” “The leg is great. It feels like a brand new leg. We’re just trying to accept the situation and I think we’re doing a great job of understanding that this is a bad moment. But at least Less we are spending this bad moment as a family and seeing it as a ray of hope.”

There were weeks of jumping up and down on his left foot, some more when walking was limited and another spell with a protective boot. Fernandez enjoyed bonus time with his family, the ability to watch more television than usual and – this is the first – the satisfaction that comes from reading a good book.

“In the past, I was harsh-tempered and didn’t want to read books,” she said. “I’ve been reading more and enjoying it over the past few weeks – it was definitely amazing.”

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She has always been a fan of true detective crime stories on television and is now engaged in reading the series “Girl, Missing”.

Fernandez said, “I always try to resolve the matter before the show ends.” “Most of the time I am wrong. Trying to figure things out, using the process of thinking the same way I use to figure out problems on the tennis court.”

Fernandez is part of a formidable group of players born after the new century that will transform tennis. Swietec, who won 37 consecutive matches earlier this year, was born in 2001. Emma Radukanu and Fernandez, the winner of that US Open Championship match, both came together in 2002. French Open finalist Coco Gauff was born this year at the age of 18. in 2004.

According to Fernandez, their individual successes help create a collective synergy that they can all tap into.

“We all went through that phase of losing to juniors” [WTA matches] And coming back,” Fernandez said. “Following away, I’d see Coco doing amazing things, Inga doing amazing things, and it definitely inspired me, ‘Okay, I want to do that.

“So it’s a great dynamic between all of us. Because we see it as an opportunity to improve the sport and inspire other young girls to achieve their dreams. Not necessarily in tennis, but others.” In the profession, it could be football, engineering, whatever they decide to do.

Not that long ago Fernandez was trying to achieve her dream in tennis. Most of her 2019 season was spent playing ITF tournaments in and around Canada and in places like Waco, Texas, Claremont, Calif., and Bonita Springs, Calif. But that August, the 16-year-old was given a wild card in the main draw in Toronto. It ended early with a 6–0, 6–1 loss to Marie Buzkova.

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“At the time I was amazed to see all these professionals,” Fernandez said. “I remember a moment when I saw Venus pass me. I remember saying, ‘OMG, Venus Williams just passed me.’ And then sharing the court with Simona Halep. I was terrified. I didn’t know how to talk to her during doubles. It was one of those intros on the tour.”

Reaching the US Open final a year ago was a pivotal moment for Fernandez, and he is looking forward to producing some comparable results. It’s easy to forget that she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros earlier this year before suffering a leg injury. Her patience will be tested once again as she tries to find her footing among the elite players.

“I think I’ll try to enjoy my time on the court and secondly see how I feel physically and mentally,” Fernandez said. “I feel great because of practicing, but tennis matches are a whole new world. Hopefully, all will be well.

“We can get better tournament than tournament. Hopefully by the US Open I’ll be ready. But that’s in a long, long time.”