MELBOURNE, Australia -- Leylah Fernandez earned her first main-draw win at the Australian Open, defeating Alizé Cornet 7-5, 6-2 in the first round. The win sets up a marquee second-round matchup with WTA Finals champion and World No.4 Caroline Garcia on Thursday.
After the win, the 20-year-old Canadian was asked about the balance between the mental and physical sides of professional tennis. The 2021 US Open finalist gave the overwhelming edge to the brain game.
"For me, the answer is that the mental to the physical is 3 to 1," Fernandez said.
"I'm very grateful that my parents, especially my dad, reinforced that. Hasn't really taught me about tennis or tennis technique but more of the mental side of the sport.
"Because it's hard. You're all alone out there on court. Most of the time you don't have a coach with you or the coach can't talk to you during the points. You have to figure some things out, you have to be your own cheerleader, your own biggest critic, your own biggest supporter."
Fernandez said the new Netflix series "Break Point," which delves into the mental strain of the sport, was a compelling illustration of the mental drain in competitive sport.
"It's not only in tennis, but it's also in everything you do outside of sports," Fernandez said. "I know a couple of friends who are in school and they are still trying to figure something out of what they want to do in life. That's hard mentally, not just emotionally or physically, but mentally it kind of breaks you down because you don't know what's gonna happen.
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"So I think the Netflix series is a great introduction for fans to see how hard the sport is. I think some young athletes, young students can relate to us and can see that they are not alone, that we are also going through that, and that maybe if they see us succeed or figure something out in these moments, they won't feel like they are defeated. They can get through it, too."