Filipino-Canadian Leylah Fernandez had an incredible run at the 2021 US Open—she defeated three of the tennis tournament's five top players, including defending champion Naomi Osaka. Her journey to victory was stopped short during the Final on Sept. 12 in New York by Great Britain's Emma Raducanu, who beat out Fernandez 6-4, 6-4.
Their match would be one for the books as it was the first all-teen women's final since 1999's US Open final between Serena Williams and Martina Hingis.
Raducanu, 18, also had a spectacular run during the tournament, taking home the trophy without dropping a set throughout the entire tournament.
The New York crowd cheered loudly for Fernandez as she received her finalist trophy. "Today's going to be hard to recuperate but Emma played amazing," she said, congratulating Raducanu.
"I'm very proud of myself for the way I played in the past two weeks," she added.
The 19-year-old also thanked her parents for their support in the interview. "Thank you for always believing me...You were there when I was at my lows, when I was suffering, when I was having tough times, and you were there when I was having the best of times so thank you for always having my back. Thank you for believing in me and helping me."
Born with Filipino roots from her mother's side, Fernandez expressed her gratitude to Filipino supporters during her semifinal win. “I’m so happy to hear that everyone in the Philippines is cheering for me and supporting me. So thank you," she said.
The tennis player admitted that she has a lot to learn about the Filipino culture but she shared that she's no stranger to the cuisine, thanks to her grandfather's cooking.
“Hopefully when I go back home to Toronto, Canada and visit him he’s gonna make a really nice dish for the whole family and especially Filipino dish," she expressed.
Thumbnail and banner photo by Al Bello, ELSA / Getty Images North.