Leylah Fernandez sets ambitious 2022 goal after US Open heartbreak vs Emma Raducanu

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Leylah Fernandez is hoping to bounce back from her US Open heartbreak by going one better in 2022. The Canadian was on the receiving end of an agonising defeat at the hands of fellow teenager Emma Raducanu in September, but hopes she can use it as a platform to succeed in the new season.

Like Raducanu, Fernandez upset the odds by reaching the her first ever Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows.

As both finalists were unseeded teenagers, the tennis world was shocked to see them sweep aside all who came before them en-route to the trophy decider.

And Fernandez’s road to the final was arguably even more impressive than Raducanu’s, having beaten three of the top five seeds in earlier rounds.

The Canadian had knocked out Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina, Angelique Kerber and Aryna Sabalenka, but could not overcome her fellow teen as Raducanu claimed victory in the final.

But despite that defeat, she shot up the WTA rankings and will be seeded at this month’s Australian Open.

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She has never got past the first round in Melbourne, but hopes that will change this year.

More than that, Fernandez is backing herself to go one better than she did in New York last year and claim a major title of her own in 2022.

“I’ve always had those high objectives because my parents said if you don’t set the bar high, then you don’t really believe in yourself,” she told the WTA Insider.

“This season is still the same. I want to achieve top 10, I want be able to play the WTA Finals at the end of the year. Obviously, I want to win a Grand Slam.”

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While she holds those lofty ambitions for the year ahead, she went on to stress that she knows results are not the only things that can be used to measure achievements.

“I define success as me enjoying the sport, enjoying my time on the tennis court,” she added.

“As a team, we don’t want to lose that happiness working together. We want to keep that smile, keep that joy for the sport and then finish the year healthy, physically, mentally and also emotionally.

“That’s success for me.”

Fernandez has already made the journey Down Under ahead of the Australian Open, and is currently taking part in a season-opening warm up event.

She beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets in her opening match at the Adelaide International, to set up a testing tie with 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Raducanu was supposed to be beginning her season at the Melbourne Summer Set this week, but pulled out at the weekend.

The Brit explained she took the decision as she had not had enough time to properly prepare after only recently coming out of isolation following a positive Covid test.

“The timing to compete in the first Melbourne event this week is too soon for me, having just returned from isolation,” she said.

Raducanu is scheduled to play at the Sydney Classic next week, before beginning her Australian Open campaign which starts on January 17.

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