(Daily Mail) US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez has revealed she was told by a school teacher to give up on tennis because she would never make it to the top of the game.
The Canadian, who turned 19 on Monday, stunned world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka in a dramatic three-set semi-final at Flushing Meadows on Thursday night.
Fernandez will now face Britain’s Emma Raducanu in the first US Open final to feature two teenagers since 17-year-old Serena Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis in 1999 – before this year’s finalists were born.
Dropped from Tennis Quebec’s development programme when she was seven, Fernandez will now have the last laugh as she battles Raducanu for a winner’s purse of £1.8million.
And she revealed after her victory over Sabalenka on Arthur Ashe Stadium that she was urged to abandon her tennis dreams as a youngster but uses those doubts as motivation on the court now.
‘A lot of people doubted me, my family and my dreams,’ said Fernandez after knocking out second seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 4-6 6-4.
‘They kept saying “No”, that I’m not going to be a professional tennis player, that I should stop and just pursue going to school.
‘I remember one teacher, which was actually very funny – at the time it wasn’t, but now I’m laughing.
‘She told me to stop playing tennis, you will never make it, and just focus on school.
‘I’m glad she told me that because every day I have that phrase in my head saying: “I’m going to keep going, push through, prove to her everything I’ve dreamed of I’m going to achieve.”‘… Read More