London | For Leila Fernandez, Wimbledon is a “legendary tournament”. The tradition, the multiple victories of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras … But there are also bad memories of a hasty defeat she suffered in her only participation, two years ago.
“The first time I played, I think I didn’t spend more than an hour on the court. It wasn’t a good experience!” Quebec laughs, Saturday, during the traditional media day at the All England Club.
In fact, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko had pasted 6-1, 6-2 for the then-very young player who had not yet experienced her stellar run until the final of the US Open.
“But I’ve learned a lot since then,” she continued. This year I hope to spend more than an hour in this field. I also hope I can take more than one round! ”
Because Lily loves grass, which is a surface she can be creative with, she says. And also aggressive, due to the speed of the courts.
from 13H at 96H rank
But the 20-year-old is also straightforward. Unable to achieve series victories, to defend the points gained in the previous season, especially in New York, Fernandez has fallen sharply in the rankings in recent months.
When the topic is brought up, the tone of her humor about her defeat two years ago—she missed the tournament last year, injured—changes quickly.
“I’m not going to lie. In less than a year, I’ve gone from 13 years oldH at 96H arranged, and she regrets. Let’s say this isn’t my best year.
In London, Laila will play her first match on Monday (around 8am EST) against Ukraine’s Katerina Bendel, who leads her by 10 places in the standings.
And then it gets more complicated. If she wins and respects logic, she will pass in the second round Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, fifth in the world, whom she beat at the Australian Open (the list of her possible rivals is here).
“I want to show that I can come back.”
However, this is nothing new for Lavalloise. When she reached the final in New York two years ago, she had beaten several top seeds: Naomi Osaka (3H), Elena Svitolina (5H), Aryna Sabalenka (2H) …
“It’s different today,” she said. In 2021, the players didn’t know me, they didn’t know how I played. Now they know.”
“It motivates me, however, to find solutions,” Fernandez continued. “Find out what I need to improve on those shots that surprise them. Does it improve my accuracy and acceleration?”
But instead of getting frustrated by her fall in the rankings, Laila says she’s motivated. “I want to prove that yes, I can get back to this level. And I hope that with the hard training I’m doing, the results will come quickly.
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