Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez has revealed she “still can’t accept” losing to Emma Raducanu in the final of the US Open.
Both Fernandez and Raducanu went on spectacular runs at the Grand Slam in September.
The 19-year-old Fernandez overcame defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, then triumphed against Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka.
Raducanu racked up victories against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari to reach the final.
She then made history by beating Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, becoming the first ever qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title. She also became Britain’s first female Grand Slam winner since Virginia Wade in 1977.
In an interview with ESPN, which has been cited by Tennis365, Fernandez said she was still struggling to get over the loss.
“I have to improve my whole game,” she said.
“Improve my forehand, my serve, my volley, everything by two or three percent to be among the [top] ten in the [world] ranking, among the [top] five, and one day at number one and win a Grand Slam.
“I still can’t accept that [US Open] defeat, but I learned what I can teach the world and that I can play against the greats.”
Fernandez enjoyed a breakthrough 2021, beginning the year as world number 88 but ending it world number 24.
She also earned her first WTA title at the Monterrey Open in March.
Fernandez last played at the Indian Wells in October, defeating French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round.
She was knocked out by Shelby Rogers in the next round, however, and the young talent called an end to her season soon after.
Fernandez is now preparing for the Australian Open in February, and will compete at the Adelaide International in January.
The 19-year-old Raducanu will also compete at both tournaments, although her pre-season has been impacted by a positive COVID-19 test result. She is currently isolating in the United Arab Emirates.
Raducanu started the year outside the top 300 in the WTA rankings, but now sits at world number 19.
She has reaped the benefits of her historic success at the US Open, attending the Met Gala and the James Bond premiere, starred in a Sports Direct advert, and became an ambassador for Dior and Tiffany and Co.