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August 5, 2019

Leylah Fernandez

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M. BOUZKOVA/L. Fernandez

6-0, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us, are you excited about playing with Simona in doubles?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Yes, I am very excited. Once I heard the news, I just couldn't stop smiling for maybe the whole day, day and a half. I don't know.

But I'm very excited and hopefully it will be a lot better.

Q. Good luck.

Q. Would you mind just detailing for us how that came together? What were the working mechanisms? Because I think a lot of people were surprised to see you two playing together.
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, I heard that Simona wanted to play doubles over here in the Rogers Cup. So she asked the officials and Sylvain.

And then I think she had a list of Canadians, and she saw my name, and I think she chose me. And, of course, I accepted right away. I said yes with big smiles. And I was very excited to meet her and to say thank you and congratulations to her.

Q. Have you practiced together yet?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: No, we haven't. But I'm sure we will in the next day or so.

Q. Obviously a tough result today.

Q. But you've been on a roll coming into the tournament. What are your goals for the rest of the year and for your career and beyond?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, obviously -- well, this year, like I said many times, I want to finish top 200 WTA by the end of the year.

And for the long-term goals, I would love to play Grand Slams, win as many as I can and be number one in the world.

Q. Can you kind of talk about the emotions stepping out onto center court and did nerves have any impact on you today?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Of course I was a little bit nervous. But just stepping on court and hearing the screams of the Canadians over here, it was amazing.

And too bad I couldn't play my best, but I did what I could today and I just made some mistakes.

And a thank you to Tennis Canada who gave me this wild card. And it was a great opportunity and I saw where my level was at, and I know what I need to work on for next time.

Q. So your dad has kind of talked in the past about your family's devotion to your career and kind of how he's poured all of his savings into making you and your sister get to where you are. Do you mind sharing kind of some more details about that and exactly what they've done for you?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, my parents sacrificed a lot during the past five, six years. My mom had to go to California to -- not train but go there to work for a few years. So we were separated for I think three or four years. It was really hard on us. I had to learn to cook and really be independent around the house, not be dependent on my mom, but I think it was really good for us.

And then my dad, he sold his house. We moved to Montreal a little bit more, and we did what we had to do to move past the difficulties.

And when we decided to move to Florida, it was basically just to be a family again. We were getting tired of being separated and not be together. So when we moved to Florida, it was the best decision that we could make. And just to have my mom with us, it was really good emotionally and mentally. And then just to train there, it was a lot better for my tennis and for the tennis of my younger sister.

Q. Is that Simona calling you?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Hopefully. Sorry about that, guys.

Q. Similar question as earlier but how do you think today compared to -- you played at Rod Laver arena and Court Chatrier, how did that compare to today? Any similarities or did you feel a bit more nervous because you were at home?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: I felt a little bit more nervous here because I was at home, but this stadium is -- I feel is much more special just because it's in Canada.

It's the first time I played Rogers Cup in the main draw. Again, thank you to Tennis Canada for the wild card.

But I think over here it would be a great stadium in the future. Maybe it would be bigger and more spectators would be able to fill up the stadium for the women's tennis.

Q. How do you maintain composure with this amount of pressure at such a young age? How do you keep a level head and maintain this adult attitude towards the professional tour?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: It comes with practice from a very young age. My dad has really pushed me during practices, putting me under pressure that not a lot of coaches would do to their players. So that helped me a lot to be calm and to be more positive and accepting of what's happening. And I think that's helped me a lot.

Just every stage of my life from junior, national players, to international juniors, and then the 25K's. So hopefully I can build on those experience for this professional WTA.

Q. And speaking of that 25K that you just won, between that and also the Roland Garros title, how do you feel just your overall progression in terms of this year? Has it been to the level that you expected it to be and the strides that you want to take for the rest of the season and who has been friends on tour that have emerged for you in your early days being a professional?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Well, I would say that, yes, I think I surpassed expectation that I thought, results of this year. But then again, I wasn't that surprised also because my goal was to win one Grand Slam, and I think the most important one was the French Open for me. I love clay.

And just to win a 25K was a bonus because we weren't really thinking of winning those challenger series. It was mostly to get to semifinals and finals and see how that goes.

But really it's been bonuses just winning tournaments. We all know how hard it is, and I'm happy that I was able to get those titles.

But we've got to move forward and get better every day. So I think that's what is going to be important right now, to just keep going.

Q. With the doubles now and that big news, there will probably be no time to go to OVO festival tonight; right?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: No, I don't think so. Bummer, but no. Just train hard and get ready for doubles.

Q. So when you went down 5-0, was that your dad that came out to talk to you?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: Yes, that was my dad. But he's the main coach and that's what I felt comfortable with, him coming out.

Q. Do you mind sharing? It was a pivotal kind of moment in the match, you were down 5-0 and it was a tough time. What did he say to you then?
LEYLAH FERNANDEZ: He just told me to stay calm. That 5-0, it's just a score. That we can always come back from it. And remember, 0-0, just keep working harder. And once you have your opportunity, just go and grab it.

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