Leylah Fernandez pays tribute to retiring Serena Williams

2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez said it’s “very sad” to see Serena Williams retiring but added she feels the 23-time Grand Slam will find a way to be a great role model even in her retirement. 

On Tuesday, 40-year-old Williams revealed her plans to retire at this year’s US Open. 

Fernandez, 19, is one of the most promising and talented players in the world. 

Fernandez described Williams as a true legend and added the American gave women “a path to follow.”

“It’s very sad news. She’s an icon, she’s a legend. The sport needs her. She’s done incredible things for not only tennis but also for women. She gave us a path to follow,” Fernandez said. “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.”

Fernandez said it is ‘very sad’ to see Williams retiring

In her piece published for Vogue, Williams admitted there was “no happiness” for her in announcing her decision to walk away from professional tennis.

“There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it’s not. I’m torn: I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next,” Williams admitted in her piece for Vogue.

Fernandez has never played Williams. 

It remains to be seen if Fernandez gets a chance to play Williams in Cincinnati or the US Open.