Leylah Fernandez has risen from relative obscurity as she established her position as one of the best young tennis players in the world.
The 19-year-old captured the hearts of tennis fans after her brilliant run in the US Open, where she finished as runner-up to 18-year-old Emma Raducanu following an unprecedented final between teenagers.
Formerly ranked No. 73 in the world, Fernandez pulled off several upsets in the US Open, beating the likes of four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber.
But before the Canadian stamped her class in the game, she faced adversity early in her tennis career, including being told to stop pursuing the sport and focus on school instead.
Fernandez also spent significant time away from her Filipino-Canadian mother, who had to move to the United States to support their family and her tennis aspirations.
These challenges, though, pushed Fernandez to strive harder.
Now, Fernandez has become tennis' new darling and it is only just the beginning. – Delfin Dioquino/Rappler.com