Roland Garros

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Paris, France

Leylah Fernandez

Press Conference

L. FERNANDEZ/K. Siniakova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Can you give us some thoughts on today's match.

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Yeah, I think it was a very good match. I felt a little more comfortable today than my first round, which that was our goal.

I think I just played a really good match, especially on important points in the first set. And then in the second set I was happy I was able to keep that offensiveness and keep going for my shots and I'm glad that the balls went in when it mattered.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How aware are you of the expectations on you? Lots of people talking about you could be a real contender and a surprise here. Are you aware of all that chatter, or do you just concentrate on your own game?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, honestly this is the first time I'm hearing about this (smiling). But I'm just focusing on my own game. I have been trying to improve my game every single day, trying to get to a level where I think is deemed to be here at a top level. I think my team and I were doing a good job, just trying to improve every day and not thinking about wins and losses or any external voices.

I'm just glad that today was a good day for us.

Q. I'm just wondering what's the difference between playing, say, the US Open where you went all the way to the final and what you're experiencing here in the French Open?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: I think it's actually similar experiences. I'm just enjoying every moment on court. The crowd, French crowds, are amazing. They love tennis. They love competition. So you just see how much enthusiasm they have for the players.

Then afterwards, I think the only difference would be the surface. Clay is a little bit longer than hard, like the rallies are longer than on hard court. I'm just trying to keep working, and I guess I keep improving throughout the tournament.

Q. For you to have success and keep achieving your goals here at Roland Garros, how much is just concentrating on what happens in terms of your preparation and on the court, and how much is about embracing the completely new surroundings of being in Paris and life between the matches?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: You know, I think my team, we have been doing a good job actually by separating the two. Whereas every time, transportation on our way to the court, we are ready to do our job, which is to come here, prepare as best as we could, and just for me, trust my game as much as possible and trust in myself.

Then afterwards, after the match or a practice day, doesn't matter if it went well or not, it's to disconnect completely. My dad and I, I like this routine where we try to either watch Netflix, try to disconnect and forget we are at a tennis tournament. It definitely helps for me mentally.

Then afterwards, maybe if we do have time, we will walk around the city a little bit, try to find a nice dessert place to enjoy our evening. I need to have chocolate (smiling).

Other than that, we just found a nice routine throughout the years where it helps us. It's part of our life.

Q. I think six of the top-10 players are already out of the tournament. Do you pay any attention of what's going on in the other matches, as well? Or do you focus on yourself?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: You know, I try to focus on myself, but it's a little hard when you just see the TVs everywhere, the scores everywhere.

I do catch glimpses here and there, but I don't try to follow matches. I just want to focus on myself and just, like I said, improve every match and enjoy the time that I have on the tennis court.

Q. You just told us one of the ways you like to relax is to watch Netflix. What are some of the things you enjoy watching on Netflix? Also, the ATP Tour is working alongside Netflix on the men's game. One of their aims is bring tennis to a younger audience. I was wondering, would you like to see the WTA take a similar initiative? How do you think they could engage with younger people?

THE MODERATOR: We do have the same.


Q. Have you had the opportunity to be part of that? Do you think it's important to bring tennis to a younger audience?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: So to answer your first questions, I do enjoy some documentaries, and I think I think my favorite one would be the "F1: Drive to Survive," which is very exciting. Afterwards I do like science fiction. At this moment I'm watching "Teen Wolf," like I'm rewatching it over and over, it's just a good show.

But what Netflix is trying to do with the ATP and the WTA I think is just bring a little bit not only awareness to the fans and have a show for them, but it's also a good way for the younger generations to see what the professional life is, and that they can also believe that they can achieve it.

I remember when I was younger, like, I would be on this journey and I did have doubts, like I did not know if I was going to be able to make it or not. It was sometimes hard not knowing what the professionals went through, what they are feeling.

With this partnership, Netflix and the ATP, WTA, I think it will put into light that the professionals are also going through the tough times and that they have found a way to overcome it. Hopefully we can put that in the Netflix show and that the younger generation can see that if they are able to do it, if the professionals are able to do it, that they can do it, as well. We can see more and more kids picking up a racquet, enjoying the beautiful sport that everyone is watching on TV and that the professionals are enjoying.

I'm just hoping that one day like not only like one or two kids are picking up racquets but like hundreds and hundreds of kids will be able to step on the tennis court and just have a smile on their faces while hitting a tennis ball.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Are you on the documentary?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Yes. I spoke with the Netflix group. It's fun to tell them about what's going on out of court. They can see the work that we perform but we're still kids. We still want to have fun after matches, after practice sessions. We are not out of the ordinary. We are just kids practicing sports, having fun out of court.

Q. Do you think that's one of the best matches you have played today? We don't know your next opponent, but it could be either Bencic or Andreescu. What's your opinion on that?

LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, I will not say that today's match was my best match, but I'm happy with my level of play. I know that I can play better. But with the percentage of serve wins and my aggressiveness I'm quite happy. I will try to work on that even more.

As for the next match, I have no idea who I'm going to be playing, but I know that both players are very good. These matches are never easy to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
120710-1-1063 2022-05-25 15:52:00 GMT

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