Leylah Fernandez: ‘I just want to be able to tell everyone that I played against Serena Williams’

Serena Williams training

Leylah Fernandez says “tennis has missed” Serena Williams and the Canadian hopes to share a court with the sporting great before she retires.

After picking up a serious injury during the first round at Wimbledon last year, Williams missed the remainder of the 2021 season as well as the beginning of the 2022 campaign.

With the 23-time Grand Slam winner keeping mum about a potential return date, it led to speculation that we may have seen the last of the tennis icon in competitive action.

However, the 40-year-old surprised the tennis community on the eve of Wimbledon when she announced that she had accepted a wildcard to compete at the grass-court Grand Slam.

Williams, though, lost in the opening round at the All England Club, but although she remained coy about her future, she insisted that playing at SW19 “definitely makes me want to hit the practice courts”.

Fernandez, of course, missed Wimbledon due to injury, but she was happy to see the American back in action.

“I was very excited. Tennis has missed her. She’s a big legend,” the Canadian told TSN.

“Just seeing her back on court, competing and giving it her all and not giving up is a true inspiration. I know that kids and professional players are looking up to her.”

Why Canada’s Leylah Fernandez is US Open title contender

The 19-year-old Fernandez is yet to play against Williams in a competitive match and she hopes it happens before the tennis legend hangs up her racket.

She added: “Hopefully I can share the court with her before she retires. Hopefully that’s not too soon. Hopefully I can play a match against her.

“I just want to be able to tell everyone that I was able to play a match against Serena Williams. She’s just legend.”