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Opinion: How Leylah Fernandez became a giant-killer at the US Open

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NEW YORK — When Leylah Annie Fernandez moved with her family to an apartment in Boynton Beach, Florida, as she prepared to go out on the pro tour, her former coach Dave Rineberg would always ask: “How are you going to beat the big girls?”

 

 

By that point, Fernandez already had established herself as one of the top juniors in the world, getting to the finals of the Australian Open and winning the French Open. But those tournaments, prestigious as they are, are not great predictors of who will have success at the next level. When those top juniors make the transition to the real tour, it often is a rude awakening.

“We were always talking about, ‘How are you going to beat Kaia? How are you going to beat Kaia?’ ” Rineberg said, referring to Kaia Kanepi, a player he previously worked with who spent several years in the top 40 in the world. “You’ve got to hit the angles to beat the big girls, drive it down the line on change of directions.”

For any player making a run like Fernandez, who came into the U.S. Open ranked 73rd and has suddenly knocked off three so-called “big girls” — No. 3 Naomi Osaka, No. 17 Angelique Kerber and now Svitolina — there’s always an element of unexplainable, perhaps even magical confidence in their ability to execute under pressure in ways they never have before. But the foundation of that confidence is not magic. It’s just tennis.

“She’s taking the ball as early as I’ve ever seen, changing directions with it, her angles are really disruptive,” Rineberg said. “ … she has the confidence everything is going to go in. She’s swinging so free right now, it looks beautiful. I’m rooting for her. She’s a great kid.”

Rineberg’s time with Fernandez ultimately didn’t last long, and as often happens in these situations, there was discord between the coach and her father Jorge, an Ecuadorian immigrant who coached Fernandez up the junior ranks and still does today despite not having a background in tennis.

But when it was time for Leylah to turn pro, Tennis Canada hired Rineberg to help them make the transition, something he had done with numerous young players including Serena Williams and Jessica Pegula.

She has the confidence everything is going to go in. She’s swinging so free right now, it looks beautiful. I’m rooting for her. She’s a great kid.
DAVE RINEBERG, FORMER TENNIS COACH OF LEYLAH FERNANDEZ

Over the years, Rineberg has seen plenty of families bet everything on young girls with promise in tennis, often with disastrous results. For every story like the Williams sisters or Osaka, there are dozens and dozens who never make it for one reason or another.

“They were just scraping by, and it takes money to move in this sport, to move around, get where you need to go,” Rineberg said. “I’ve seen so many fathers bank on it and give up everything, quit their jobs, and I’ve had to talk to many of them and say, ‘Take the college scholarship’ and you can’t convince them. Stories like these are rare.”

Fernandez, a petite 5-foot-6, was never going to be one of those so-called “big girls.” But she loved chasing down balls and had an incredible disposition on the court, which was enough to get her on her way.

Still, nothing in Fernandez’s career has suggested she was on the verge of a run like this at the U.S. Open. Talented? Sure. But the results have been undeniably spotty. Just this year, she’s had seven losses to players ranked outside the top 80. In March, she won her first WTA title, in Monterrey, Mexico, beating some solid competition in Sara Sorribes Tormo and Viktorija Golubic in the semifinals and final.

But since then, she lost in the first or second round of her next 11 tournaments.

“I was training well, playing well. Just a few bad matches here and there,” Fernandez said. “I always went back to work. Went back home to work harder, try to improve my game. I was glad that every match that I played I was improving little by little.”

To beat Osaka, Kerber and Svitolina in succession, however — a group that’s won a combined seven Grand Slams and two WTA Championship finals — Fernandez has had to improve by a lot in a short amount of time.

Rineberg compared it to the way another Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard, played when she came out of nowhere in 2014 and had several huge results, including the Wimbledon final. He said it also reminds him of 17-year-old Serena Williams beating No. 1 Martina Hingis in the 1999 U.S. Open final at a time when she was nowhere close to the player she would become.

“She’s kind of got that same aura going right now,” Rineberg said. “Serena didn’t know what she was doing, she was just swinging away and chasing balls and it looks like every ball that comes over the net right now, Leylah can hit it however she wants and it’s going to go in. Serena back then, she didn’t have the size to blow people off the court, and she did it all with speed and taking the ball early.”

Because of her frame, Fernandez almost certainly isn’t going to evolve on the same trajectory. She’s going to need to continue to play this way, a style predicated on hitting it before the opponent has time to read and react to where it’s going to go.

When executed with supreme confidence, it can lead to a run like Fernandez has been on in New York. When there’s hesitation or distrust in a shot, it can produce a lot of errors, which might mean Fernandez is destined to be a high-variance player.

“When you’re taking it that early the big girls have trouble chasing those angles and that’s what Layla’s doing. That’s her style and game that’s really working for her right now,” Rineberg said. “I hope she can continue to hold the emotions in for two more matches. She’s swinging free right now.”

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Confirmed! Simona Halep will marry wealthy boyfriend after 2020 US Open

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Simona Halep and her millionaire boyfriend, Toni Iuruc, have arranged every single detail of the wedding that is scheduled in September 2020, just after Simona will finish the US Open. After ending her 2019 WTA season on the 4th place, Simona Halep went in Maldive with Toni Iuruc.

The couple spent beautiful moments there, but what’s even more important is that Simona couldn’t be happier. “Simona Halep gets maximum relaxation time. She does, every day, maintenance sports. She tortures Toni Iuruc with endless bike rides, but she enjoys it big time.

She is, I think, happier than ever. And in the evening, Simona being an incurable romantic, she gets to take the walks that she dreamed about for years, long walks, on the beach, holding hands with her fiance”, a friend of Simona told wowbiz.ro.

And those are not the biggest news. A close acquaintance of Halep’s family confirmed that the two lovebirds will unite their destinies after the 2020 US Open. “They will get married next year in September after she will participate at US Open 2020.

The event will be fabulous, at a luxury restaurant from Constanța and, normally, it will be organised respecting the Aromanian traditions”. , the source said to wowbiz.ro. Moreover, the source gave details about the wedding preparation’s current state.

“All their relatives will participate, tennis personalities, from sport, there will hundreds of guests, maybe a thousand. Everything is already settled and Simona Halep is delighted that she managed to arrange all the details.

Obviously, there are still some unsolved things, like the dress, Toni Iuruc’s wedding suit, but, largely, everything was arranged”.

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Simona Halep crushed Serena Williams and won Wimbledon using an edge: her boyfriend

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Last year, Simona Halep won the first Wimbledon of her career, a rare achievement in any player’s arsenal, but, according to her former coach, Daniel Dobre, she used a secret weapon that helped her raise the Venus Rosewater Dish above her head, following the memorable 6/2, 6/2 triumph over Serena Williams, who failed to record her 24th Grand Slam.

That hidden advantage was nothing else than her boyfriend, Toni Iuruc, who had been cheering her from the stands of an official tournament for the very first time. Daniel Dobre, the coach who helped Simona add her second Grand Slam to her trophy case, unveiled how Toni boosted the Romanian first racket’s performance at the All England Club.

“At Wimbledon, Simona had a very good atmosphere in the team. She met Toni, who accompanied her for the first time during a tournament, so, emotionally, she was in a very good mood. She gave it all, like she usually does, but in a more relaxed way.

The draw was difficult, but in the end, it was an incredible tournament,” said Daniel Dobre on a Tennis with an Accent podcast episode.

Simona Halep has a very powerful personality
Besides talking about Simona Halep’s psychological edge she gained from the presence of her lover, Daniel Dobre, who was dismissed after Darren Cahill returned to team Halep at the start of 2020, explained how Simona’s strong spirit makes her a very independent and straight-forward person.

“She has a very powerful personality. Every decision regarding coaches and her career, she took by herself. It’s weird because in Romania parents decide everything. When she was 14-15 years old, Simona said she wanted to go to Bucharest to train, then that she didn’t want that coach anymore, but the other,” said Dobre.

“She said ‘my back hurts, I’ll go and have a breast reduction surgery. She is a very inspired person when it comes to making these kinds of decisions. In the 12 years I have known her for, she was never late and she doesn’t forget what you had talked with her even if months or entire years have passed”.

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Adele Reveal that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Sent her Flower. She is Starstruck

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The ‘Easy on Me’ hitmaker said that the ‘Jungle Cruise’ actor is the one person who she’d be starstruck to meet and she “nearly fell off” her chair when she received a bouquet of flowers from him as an apology for not being able to be in the audience for her recent ‘One Night Only’ TV special, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

She said: “Someone I’ve never met, that I think I would actually cry, is The Rock. I was the biggest wrestling fan when I was younger! He sent me flowers because he and his wife couldn’t make it to my show and literally I nearly fell off me chair!”

Adele was quick to stress she doesn’t have a crush on the ‘Moana’ star.

She added: “He always paints his little girl’s nails and stuff like that, doesn’t he? He’s so cute. I wish he was my dad… Oh yeah, it’s not like I – I haven’t got a crush on him or anything. It’s just, he’s amazing. He’s just incredible, I want him to be my mate. I want him to be my friend.”

The 33-year-old star is a big fan of the former WWE star, one thing she doesn’t enjoy is ‘Real Housewives’ and she fears her “brain will die” if she starts dedicating time to the Bravo franchise.

Speaking during a ‘Power of Make-Up’ video on NikkieTutorials’ YouTube channel, she explained: “I know a lot of people love it, but I can’t. My brain will die, I can’t…I don’t know who any of them are, so I don’t feel like I can start from the beginning when it’s been on for so long. I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t work for me.”

Adele said she had once tried to watch ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’.

She added: “One time I did watch one episode of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ when they were all like literally killing each other, but it was too much, I was like I can’t, I can’t watch. I’d rather watch a wildlife programme.”

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