Tennis star Leylah Fernandez’s mental training is as important as her physical

Leylah Fernandez is the 19-year old that every will be watching at this year’s Australian Open. 

The Australian Open is rolling into town (no doubt you’ve caught wind of the Novak Djokovic drama), and with it a slew of the world’s best tennis players. Including a certain 19-year old from Canada, called Leylah Fernandez.

The tri-lingual pro tennis player has been named Lululemon’s latest ambassador – not only because she’s a star on the court (and a US Open finalist in 2021) but because of her off-court positivity. You only need to snoop her Instagram to see the joy she gets from giving back to the sport.

Michelle Davies, lululemon’s VP of global sports marketing & partnerships said of the reasoning behind the appointment “Every time she steps on a tennis court, Leylah demonstrates an undeniable strength and passion with a clear focus on achieving her goals. She was the natural choice to become lululemon’s next ambassador, given her determination and positive approach to wellbeing.”

Leylah’s also got a unique approach to training, opting for varied mix of yoga, Pilates, soccer and some pretty epic beach workout involving parachute running. Yup, that’s running, with a parachute tied to her.

Explaining her love of working out outside exclusively to Body+Soul, she says “We try to workout at the beach as much as possible because the sand makes the movement a little harder to execute. But the most important thing is that working out at the beach helps me clear my mind with the sound of waves. It rejuvenates me so I can train harder on the tennis court.”

And train hard she does. When in season/on tour, Leylah says she “does some cardio and plyometrics workout, that are tennis related movements. We train one to two hours of fitness work, five to six days a week. We also have three to four hours of tennis practice during the week.” That’s a LOT.

And then there’s the cross-training, with soccer being her go-to sport when she’s not on the court. She explains, saying “Well I love to play soccer as a way to help with my tennis. Soccer requires a lot of running and sprints – which is similar to tennis. I also like to run. Tennis requires a lot of cardio, so running helps me getting ready for the long matches and long points.”

When it comes to recovery, Leylah takes it just as seriously as her training.

“We like to do a lot of yoga to recuperate the body. Mostly stretching yoga. It not only recuperate the body, but also it calms the mind. Especially since during the day we are always in a rush; yoga helps with rejuvenation.”

And that kind of dedication to her mental health seems to have paid off, with Leylah’s number one piece of advice to aspiring tennis players is about perspective: to always look for the positive.

“My best advice I’ve ever gotten when I first started playing tennis was “be happy”. So that’s my advice. Always be happy and positive. It’s a beautiful sport so enjoy every minute of it.”

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