It’s hard to accept defeat. It’s especially hard after the kind of run Leylah Fernandez had at the US Open, beating three top-five ranked players on her way to her first Grand Slam final, where she would succumb to another teenager on her first final, Emma Raducanu. But if there’s one thing Fernandez has learned from that loss is that she must get better.
That, and that she has to take the good with the bad and try to learn from both. “I have to improve my whole game,” Fernandez told ESPN. “Improve my forehand, my serve, my volley, everything by two or three percent to be among the (top) ten in the (world) ranking, among the (top) five, and one day at No 1 and win a Grand Slam.”
Clear goals also help. And Fernandez seems to have her sights on the next stage of her career.
For athletes, it can be hard to give themselves credit when the end goal hasn’t been reached, but despite Fernandez looking forward to an even better 2022, it’s important to note how good 2021 was for her. She started the year ranked 88th, ended it 24th. She won her first tournament. She reached that US Open final. And she learned that she can play with the best players in the WTA, and not just be competitive, but win.
The rest isn’t exactly easy, but it’s doable. It’s just a matter of hard work and determination, and Leylah Fernandez seems to have both in spades.