Leyla Fernandez’s “toughness of mind”

It was the “faster, stronger” Leila Fernandez who stepped out to face Alize Cornet in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The result of his last weeks in training with his new mentor Julian Alonso.

Hard work under the Florida sun served the little left-hander well in this first-round straight-set victory, his first here in Melbourne in four appearances.

But if he adds speed to his shots and serve, the 20-year-old Quebecer opened up at a press conference about the importance of the mental aspect of tennis.

One would think that international journalists’ interest in the young racquet would wane after more difficult results following a stress fracture in her leg at Roland-Garros.

No, a few of them were in the huge Melbourne Park conference room that looks like a movie theater on Tuesday. the New York Times was especially involved.

As always, Leila found time to respond in a calm tone, both in English and French. He also often does so in Spanish when Spanish-speaking scribes are on site.

On Tuesday, Fernandez seemed to want to philosophize.

No, he didn’t quote Bob from the movie Boys and the famous “toughness of mind” when talking about the psychological aspect of his game.

But while he says he’s always looking to improve his “speed and game intelligence, not always hitting the court,” it turns out that for Lavalloise, the mental aspect of tennis is 75%.

He noted that his father, Jorge, his main coach for many years, instilled this mentality in him.

“He taught me that more than technique [M. Fernandez a plutôt joué et entraîné au soccer avant], pointed to the 40th player in the world. Because you know tennis is hard. You are alone in the field. Most of the time, your coach is not with you or you cannot talk to him during the score.

“You have to find your own solutions, be your biggest cheerleader, be your biggest fan.”

Emotions intact

The Quebecer had to do just that on Tuesday against Cornet, who is ranked 34th in the world. The 32-year-old French woman – a friend of Fernandez, by the way – is now a veteran driver on the circuit.

The left-hander quickly found himself 2-0 down in the first set, unable to hit the mark between the lines.

“At 3-1 I found a solution to change the momentum of the game. I’m glad that I stayed patient and everything didn’t get mixed up in my head, my feelings remained intact.”

This aspect of the sport is particularly emphasized in the series breaking point, Produced by Netflix, it was released before the start of the Australian Open.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, who rose to the second place in the world last year, said that it was difficult for her to manage the pressure.

“When I’m playing well, I feel at home on the court,” she told the WTA website. But I can go from this feeling to the pleasure of saying, “Get me out of here, I want to die.”

An inspiration to all

Leyla has not watched yet The breaking point. However, he says that he understands well that this stress, this pressure is not limited only to the sport he plays.

She mentioned her older sister, Jodeci, who wanted to become a dentist but didn’t have the grades required to get into the program. Or some friends who are still in school “trying to figure out what they want to do in life.”

“It’s hard because you don’t know what’s going to happen. So I think the Netflix series will allow young athletes, but also young students, to see that we go through these situations and they won’t feel alone.

“That way they won’t feel defeated. They will see that they will cope.

They call him a philosopher.

“I have to accept that he will attack me”

Leylah Fernandez will indeed have to be her own cheerleader on Wednesday against fourth seed Caroline Garcia in Melbourne. Because Garcia is one of the most outstanding players of the era.

At 29, the talented Frenchwoman has taken longer than expected to reach her potential. But thanks to both smart and powerful tennis over the last few months, he won the season-ending Masters title in addition to making the semifinals at the United States Open.

The results allowed her to climb the ladder of the women’s ranking at an incredible speed and reach a career-best ranking.

“I guess I’ll have to accept that he’s going to attack me! When asked about the strategy to be adopted against Garcia, Quebecere answered candidly.

“He’s very attacking, he’ll take the ball very, very early. It won’t be easy, he admitted. I will have to adapt to his speed and adjust my game accordingly.

Garcia will have to adapt as well

Garcia has already trained with Fernandez in the past, but it’s been a while since he pointed to the fourth row for him in front of a crowd of journalists from France who surrounded him on Tuesday.

A likable athlete in search of a champion in French tennis is the flavor of the moment.

“He’s left-handed, so it takes some adjusting. He often uses a serve that we’re less used to,” Garcia said, before reminding his trainer Juan Pablo Guzman that he is left-footed.

“In the end, it’s true, I don’t know him very well, he added, but he played well in Grand Slams, especially the US Open.” [2021]. And if he beats Aliza [Cornet]that means she’s also pretty solid, as we all know Alize’s strengths in the big tournaments.

One thing is for sure, and even Garcia says it: it’s a good poster for a runoff. The match will be played on Tuesday in Quebec, even on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.

It will undoubtedly be in one of the most important areas of Melbourne Park. In his first match, due to his status as the fourth seed, Garcia was booked at Rod Laver Arena, the site’s largest stadium.

Live from Melbourne Park

Photo credit: Photo archive, AFP

Scorching heat forced Australian Open organizers to call off matches on the second day of play on courts with no roof open for most of the day. Melbourne has an “extremely hot” protocol and it had to be enforced, especially as the mercury soared above 35C. The good news is that only 21 degrees was forecast for the start of the second round games on Tuesday. The bad news is that rain was in the forecast… giving the organizers more headaches.

DID YOU FALL ON YOUR HEAD ON A SCOOTER WITHOUT A HELMET?

Scooter

Photo credit: Photo by Jessica Lapinski

Like most major cities on the planet, Melbourne has electric scooters available for hire to speed up the journey. These come with a helmet…it’s optional. And despite being Australian, Nick Kyrgios has not followed the rule. At 19, he was ruled out of the Australian Open due to a knee injurye Favorite was photographed riding a scooter without a helmet…and with a passenger (who appears to be his girlfriend Kosten Hatzi). The “terrible kid of tennis” could be fined about $230 for a first offense and about $185 for a second offense. Guardian.

CHAMPAGNE, please!

champagne

Photo credit: Photo by Jessica Lapinski

We told you on Tuesday that gin was popular at Melbourne Park. But as with all the biggest tennis tournaments on the planet, it’s possible to sip a glass of champagne. After all, what would tennis be without a little luxury? At the Australian Open, you can do it sitting on the indoor terrace. For sale on site is Piper-Heidsieck, as it is also one of the sponsors of the event. In Quebec, 750 ml retails for $64.75. A trophy in the first major tournament of the season will cost you $20.

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