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Leylah Fernandez Says ‘Balance’ Is Everything In The Mental Game Of Tennis

Rising tennis star Leylah Fernandez likes to remind tennis fans and observers of the game of something innate to anyone who makes a living on the court. That tennis is mental as it is physical.

“I find that when the mind decides, the body will follow,” the Canadian singles and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) player said during an interview last week.

“The mental aspect of the sport is extremely important, and I’m extremely lucky. I try to enjoy the opportunity as much as possible.

Fernandez first came to worldwide prominence as a finalist in the 2021 U.S. Open and made her Grand Slam debut at the 2020 Australian Open, which took place in January and the first weekend of February 2020.

A week after that first big stage debut, Fernandez grabbed the biggest win in her career at the Billie Jean King Cup, by beating then-world No. 5 Belinda Bencic in the event’s qualifying round.

Yet, as one of the youngest players on the WTA Tour, Fernandez says that no amount of hours on the court, whether working to perfect her swing or even working on general form, is too long.

“I always wanted to play tennis (professionally), and I don’t really feel that the sport takes a toll on me physically.”

Currently, the 20-year-old WTA pro is ranked in the top 50 among women in the sport—sitting at No. 49 in the WTA’s rankings. She also has two professional singles titles to her name.

Late last summer, Fernandez peaked at her highest in the world rankings, at No. 13, after a string of good outings, which included a quarterfinals appearance at the 2022 French Open. One year ago, she won the Abierto GNP Seguros 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Fernandez, along with Coco Gauff and Qinwen Zheng, is one of a handful of the WTA’s top contenders under the age of 21. It is perhaps for that reason that she been tapped as a lead spokesperson in the WTA’s new partnership with Morgan Stanley.

Last week, the WTA and the global financial giant announced a new multi-year partnership to mark the WTA’s 5o year anniversary.

The WTA said in a statement that the partnership’s aim consists of highlighting the growing diversity of tennis as well as its commitment to seeing women’s participation in the game grow.

“With a shared vision for fostering inclusivity and expanding access to the game of tennis, (both) organizations are proud to accelerate their commitment to driving progress for women in sports,” the WTA said.

Morgan Stanley also becomes the exclusive presenting partner of the WTA’s Come Play initiative, which puts forth tennis programming to encourage girls of all ages and abilities to lead healthy and productive lives on and off the court.

The Come Play program builds upon Morgan Stanley’s brand ambassador relationship with Fernandez as the face of the firm’s “See It To Be It” ad. The effort is meant to inspire young people to visualize success by offering them a role model they can identify with in Fernandez.

“Supporting the next generation and giving everyone a shot at success are commitments we share with both Leylah and the WTA,” said Alice Milligan, Morgan Stanley’s chief marketing officer.

“This new partnership represents our continued efforts to help provide girls in the sport of tennis with the vital tools they need today to be our stars of tomorrow.”

“We are so pleased to announce this partnership with Morgan Stanley,” stated WTA President, Micky Lawler.

“As we strive towards a more diverse and inclusive environment for women and girls, our two organizations look forward to making a difference through community Come Play events on the Hologic WTA Tour, and (in) creating content that amplifies this important message.”

“Tennis is not going to be there forever,” Fernandez said frankly about her career as an athlete. Fernandez, who has earned just over $3.4 million in career prize money since 2019, said that, despite her young age, building financial stability is paramount.

“This partnership will give players confidence, in educating us (on) financial stability—and gives players confidence that they are in a stable environment. Also—after the sport and our careers, to help (players) in their future.”


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