Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, who lost in the US Open final, said on Tuesday that she had since received advice from five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and was eager to return to the field.
A day after stumbling across British teenager Emma Raducanu in last month’s finale, Fernandez attended the annual Met Gala in New York City, where she had the chance to speak with Sharapova.
“She gave me some really good advice,” Fernandez, 19, told reporters ahead of her return to competition this week at Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open. “I don’t want to divulge anything because it’s very personal to me.
“She’s an amazing person. She told me about her own experience and how she was able to bounce back and she’s just a great person, a great inspiration to admire.
Fernandez won the Monterrey Open in March, but dramatically improved her game in New York City, where she beat defending champion Naomi Osaka, three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber and world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka en route to the final.
Against Raducanu, an 18-year-old qualifier making only her second Grand Slam appearance, Fernandez struggled with her serve in a straight-set loss, but still showed enough to suggest she could be a lasting strength.
Fernandez has since faced strong demand for his time since the US Open, but thanks his team for allowing him to stay focused on tennis.
“I am very fortunate to have a great team around me to allow me to focus on my job, on my tennis, and not to be overwhelmed by everything that is going on right now,” said Fernandez.
“Honestly, I can’t wait to be back on the tennis court in competition. “
The Canadian rose to 28th in the standings and is the 23rd seed at Indian Wells, where she will secure a first-round bypass in an event widely regarded as the unofficial fifth Grand Slam.
While Fernandez’s run for the US Open brought a slew of new obligations off the field, she admits that it also opened the door to some fun opportunities, including attending the Met Gala.
“It was really an experience getting ready, putting on makeup, doing your hair, putting on heels for the very first time,” Fernandez said.
“At first it was a bit difficult to walk. The only thing I could think of as I walked up the stairs at the Met was “don’t fall”. Just walk one foot in front of the other.