Striking a balance in life may be as simple as carving out time regularly to indulge in an activity of choice. Yahoo Shopping chats with personalities who share their passion for a sport or wellness activity they enjoy, which helps them take on the world with zeal. We hope this monthly series will inspire you to find an interest that will add that sparkle to your life.
19-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez, a professional tennis player from Montreal, Canada, started playing tennis as young as five. Her career has been nothing short of stunning so far. She finished runner-up at the 2021 US Open to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu, defeating three top-5 players, which includes defending champion Naomi Osaka, en route to the finals. Since August 2022, she has been ranked No. 13 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). She is currently a Lululemon ambassador. Off the courts, Leylah enjoys spending time at home in Miami with her father, a former professional football player, Filipino-Canadian mother and younger sister Bianca, who also competes in tennis.
What is one sport, fitness or wellness activity you love, and how did you get started?
Tennis is the sport I love, and I've been lucky enough to make it my career. I started playing tennis when I was five and played other sports growing up. My dad was a professional soccer player and taught me to play at a young age. One day, though, I decided to try tennis, and I fell in love with it when I picked up the racket.
What are its benefits, and what do you love about it?
One of the benefits of playing tennis is that it's a sport you can play your whole life. So many people play into their 70s or even 80s. All you need is a racket, a tennis ball, and a partner to play with. I love that tennis has given me a platform to inspire younger generations and show them that you can reach your goals if you work hard and are dedicated.
How often do you indulge in it, and with whom?
I play tennis almost daily and have been doing so since I started competing seriously at age 10. I love playing with my sister Bianca, a tennis player, and my dad, who coaches me.
Was there any point you wanted to give up? Why? How did you bounce back?
As a professional athlete, I am faced with challenges regularly. Whether underperforming in/losing a match, waking up extra early to train, or trying to come back from an injury – something I am dealing with right now – there are always obstacles to overcome. I like to remind myself that I am an example for younger generations of athletes, including my sister, and it is important to show them how to be resilient.
What gear/tools/attire do you need or wear when engaging in the sport or wellness activity?
I wear Lululemon on and off the court when training and competing. I love their Wunder Train leggings for HIIT workouts, and I love to play in any of their tank tops and skirts. Occasionally, I’ll wear a tennis dress for tournaments as well. My racket of choice is a Babolat Pure Aero. Gatorade products are also an essential tool for hydration and energy during matches. I love their Endurance Powder with Electrolytes and Energy Gels with Caffeine.
Please share with us one thing you learnt from this sport or what you wish others to discover about it.
Tennis has taught me how to be independent, rely on myself, and be resilient. It's also allowed me to make new friends and learn about different cultures worldwide.
As a well-known figure, what is one way you inject positivity into the public?
I try to inspire young athletes and show them that their goals and dreams are achievable as long as they focus and work hard. I also believe in the importance of giving back and helping those in need, and I align myself with brands that also prioritise these values. Lastly, my parents raised me to be kind to everyone I meet – opponents on the tennis court, fans, and coaches – and I do my best to practise this every day.
Inspired by Leylah? Yahoo Shopping shares more fabulous finds to set you on your tennis journey.
Hard-Court Tennis Shoes
Other inspiring fitness reads: