NEW YORK (AFP) – Jorge Fernandez won’t attend his daughter Leylah’s all-teen US Open final showdown Saturday with Britain’s Emma Raducanu over fears about messing with routines that are working.
Fernandez, a former footballer from Ecuador who became a tennis coach for his daughter, will watch from home in Florida as he has for two weeks when 19-year-old Fernandez meets 18-year-old qualifier Raducanu for the title.
”No, I’m not going to be there,” Fernandez told US Open reporters on a conference call. ”I’m extremely superstitious. My daughter is as well.”
”I’ve been using the same shampoo on game day, kind of using the same jeans on game day, I think the same socks and underwear — it’s taken to a completely different level.
”It’s nothing new. You do your shoelaces a certain way. Leylah and I have always when we figured out what’s working, we don’t mess with it.
”It’s working, so let’s not ruin it.”
The teen Fernandez has developed her toughness being a student of tennis.
”That poise has come from her watching a lot of tennis, watching some of the big names, the YouTube clips, watching the matches,” her father said.
”She’s constantly analyzing what happened. She’s a great student of the game. I think that brings that poise that we see in her, able to do what she’s doing because she has watched it so much.
”She’s kind of acting with the same poise that past champions have done. She has learned how they recuperate and keep their poise. That’s what we’re seeing.”
Both finalists have Asian heritage, Fernandez from the Philippines on her mother’s side.
”Those two ladies are touching a lot of young girls. This can only be good for tennis,” Jorge Fernandez said.
”They bring a flair that is very unique for them. I’m glad that they’re touching the Asian community. That’s a huge opportunity in the women’s game just to be able to expand and have a new style.”
He thanked a Filipino-Canadian group for their support of Leylah.
”I truly appreciate the Filipino community backing up Leylah,” he said. ”It’s so beautiful. I’m glad that they’ve embraced her. I hope that relationship can only grow between her and her community.”