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At U.S. Open, Leylah Fernandez Offers Moving Sept. 11 Remarks

“I just wanted to let them know that they’re so strong, they’re so resilient,” Fernandez said. “They’re just incredible. Just having them here happy, lively, just going back to the way they were, having my back during these tough moments, has made me stronger and has made me believe in myself a lot more.”

The toughest point for Fernandez happened late in the match, when Raducanu, who had scraped her leg, took a medical timeout. At the time, Fernandez had a break point and was within a point of getting the set back on serve. But Raducanu, who needed her left knee bandaged, came back on court and five points later closed out the match.

A frustrated Fernandez discussed the matter with the chair umpire during the timeout and again immediately after the match. As Fernandez sat in her chair, defeated, the umpire climbed down to explain the situation further. Fernandez became visibly upset, tearing up. But later, she conceded that the incident had been handled correctly.

“It just happened in the heat of the moment,” she said. “It was just too bad that it happened in that specific moment with me with the momentum. But it’s sports. It’s tennis. Just got to move on.”

It was a reflective moment for the teenager.

As a relative newcomer on tour, Fernandez was a largely unknown personality to many tennis fans. Most had seen only the ebullient version, celebrating her remarkable wins. Saturday was the first time they saw how she dealt with disappointment.

There were a couple of moments of frustration, some anguished stares and a few tears. But overall, she handled herself much the way champions do. She was proud of herself, and was able to see a bigger picture than one loss.

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