NEW YORK — At the awards ceremony after a hard-fought women’s final on Saturday, runner-up Leylah Fernandez took a moment to address the resilience of New York on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
“I know on this day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the US,” Fernandez said. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.”
Both the teenagers in the 2021 US Open women’s singles finals were born after 9/11; Fernandez on September 6, 2002, and Emma Raducanu on November 13, 2002.
Britain’s Raducanu, 18, became the first qualifier — male or female — to win a Grand Slam title, after a 1-hour, 51-minute long battle with Canada’s Fernandez.
Fernandez had an incredible run of her own, becoming the first player to beat three WTA Top-5 players at the US Open (Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka) since Serena Williams in 1999. She also defeated two former World No. 1s, who have won multiple Grand Slam titles (Osaka and Angelique Kerber).
Prior to this performance, she made first round exists in both the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year.
At the awards ceremony, an emotional Fernandez said it would be hard to recover from the finals loss, but that she was proud of herself and how she’s played the past two weeks. She said she hoped to be back next year — and this time win the “right trophy.”
“Thank you for always having my back,” she said to the New York crowd. “Thank you for always cheering for me. I love you New York and hope to see you next year.”
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