Tennis Canada asked Fernandez what motivates her and her answers shed light on the source of her work ethic and character.
In one interview, Fernandez says, "Through the years, my dad and my mom [...] taught me to work hard and to fight for what you want. Nothing will come easy. Same thing with life. I've seen them going through hardship and I like to take that as motivation for a tennis match."
What motivates @leylahfernandez? The success of her compatriots, of course.
Love this answer from the #USOpen fina… https://t.co/PnUouSmii1
In another interview, Fernandez names fellow Canadian tennis players as sources of inspiration.
"Felix [Auger Aliassime], Denis [Shapovalov], Bianca [Andreescu], Milos [Raonic] — everybody doing great things on the tour. It's another great motivation. They're progressing, they're also winning, they're also attacking so watching them succeed [...] give[s] me motivation during practices and matches to be the best I can," she says.
The U.S. Open allocated a historic US$57.5 million in prize money for its most recent tournament.
Fernandez's final opponent, the 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, earned US$2.5 million for winning.
"We determined our round-by-round prize money allocations by engaging in an open dialogue with the players and the management of both tours," Stacey Allaster, chief executive, Professional Tennis and U.S. Open tournament director, said in a press release.
If you were to qualify for the first round of the U.S. Open, for instance, you would be awarded US$75,000. Win your first game and get into the second round? A cool US$115,000.
Quebec's other tennis superstar, Félix Auger-Aliassime, went home with US$675,000 for making it to the semifinals.
"I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years," Fernandez said.
She teared up as the crowd broke out in applause.
This was the 19-year-old's first Grand Slam final. According to Tennis Canada, Fernandez is only the second Canadian in the current era of professional tennis to make it to compete in a U.S. Open final.
"The crowd will not stop cheering for Leylah Fernandez," the U.S. Open wrote on Twitter.
According to Tennis Canada, Fernandez is only the second Canadian in the current era of professional tennis to make it to the final at the U.S. Open. The other was Bianca Andreescu, who won the U.S. Open in 2019.
"I'm very proud of myself with the way I played these past two weeks and especially having the crowd packed, the New York crowd has been amazing and it's definitely special for me to be here in the finals and having you cheering me on," Fernandez said, tearing up.
"Thank you so much, New York. Thank you, everyone."
Your 2021 #USOpen women's singles finalist: Leylah Fernandez https://t.co/8Z648MHBf7