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Leylah Fernandez's father emotionally details Canadian immigrant experience

·2-min read
Leylah Fernandez's father and coach, Jorge, got emotional when describing how special it is to represent Canada on a stage as grand as the US open. (Photos via Getty, TSN)
Leylah Fernandez's father and coach, Jorge, got emotional when describing how special it is to represent Canada on a stage as grand as the US open. (Photos via Getty, TSN)

19-year-old tennis player Leylah Fernandez will represent Canada in the US Open final on Saturday as she battles Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu, and that’s something that neither she nor her father and coach, Jorge, take lightly.

Jorge is an Ecuadorian-Canadian and former soccer player while Leylah’s mother, Irene, is a Canadian citizen of Filipino descent. In an interview with TSN, Jorge got emotional when describing how special it is to represent Canada on such a big stage.

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“My god, It means everything,” Jorge said before taking a long pause while trying to collect his emotions. 

“Sorry, you know, there’s a lot of talk in the news about, you know, immigrant people. And I understand in nationalist sentiments and I understand how we need to protect and we only have so many resources. I understand all of that and I don’t want to get political, that’s not what I’m doing.

“What I’m telling you is that we’re an immigrant family, and we had nothing. Got in with nothing. So, Canada opened up its doors, and if they wouldn’t have done what they did, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have, and I wouldn’t have been able to give them to my daughter. That’s it, so, it means a lot.”

An extremely powerful response.

Leylah also shares that same love, passion, and appreciation for Canada as her father, having this to say after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to earn a spot in the US Open final:

“Canada has done so much for us, especially for my dad, for my grandparents,” Leylah said in a television interview with ESPN per the Daily Hive. “They never had it easy, but they fought for everything and all the opportunities that they got they did it two times more just for me and for my whole family, for my sisters, so that we could have a better life. So we can enjoy as much as we can, and not have the difficulties that they had.”

Fernandez will have all of Canada behind her as she vies for her first Grand Slam title on Saturday afternoon.

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