US Open Runner-up Makes Touching Tribute to New York on 9/11

  • Budding Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez made a stunning run to this year’s US Open final.
  • After losing Saturday’s match, the 19-year-old made a touching tribute to New York in honor of 9/11.
  • “I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years,” Fernandez said.

Even after her stunning US Open run came to an end, budding Canadian superstar Leylah Fernandez still made an impact on the court in New York City.

After losing in the tournament final to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu on Saturday, the 19-year-old stepped to the microphone to make a runner-up speech for the thousands of fans on hand in Flushing Meadows, Queens, and millions more watching from home.

Leylah Fernandez celebrates her US Open victory against Aryna Sabalenka.

Fernandez.

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


She thanked the home crowd for their support throughout the tournament. But just before passing the mic back, she took a moment to pay tribute to the city on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

“I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States,” Fernandez said through tears. “I just want to say I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years.”

“Thank you for always having my back,” she added. “Thank you for cheering for me. I love you New York and hope to see you next year.”

Leylah Fernandez.

Fernandez reacts to the crowd at the US Open.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium — who were already favorable to Fernandez throughout the competition — erupted in applause. Many rose to their feet to give the eloquent wunderkind a standing ovation, complete with whistling and brandishing of her Canadian flag.

“The New York crowd has been amazing,” she said earlier in the speech. “It’s been special for me to be here in the finals and having you cheering me on. Thank you so much New York.”

Check out Fernandez’s full comments following the 2021 US Open final below:

 

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