"She's an icon. She gave us a path to follow" - Leylah Fernandez pays tribute to Serena Williams
Canadian tennis superstar Leylah Fernandez touched upon the news of Serena Williams announcing her imminent retirement in their respective post-match press conferences at the National Bank Open (Rogers Cup) on Tuesday.
In a heartfelt letter for Vogue magazine on Tuesday, the 23-time Grand Slam champion outlined her retirement plans, taking the tennis world by surprise. Williams is on course to take part in this year's US Open, after which she will most likely call it a day.
Fernandez, who partnered with sister Bianca Fernandez in the women’s doubles, beat Kirsten Flipkens and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-1 in their Round of 32 fixture. Speaking after the match, older sister Leylah spoke highly about Serena Williams and her contribution to the sport.
“It's very sad news. She's an icon, she's a legend," said last year's US Open runner-up. "The sport needs her. She's done incredible things for not only tennis but also for women. She gave us a path to follow.
“And then afterwards I know that she's making a decision for herself and we just got to trust that she's going to do the right things. I'm sure that hopefully maybe she can come back to the sport and hopefully help us help the younger generations. I'm sure she's just going to be a great, great role model, even away from tennis."