“I just wanted to let them know that they’re so strong, they’re so tough,” Fernandez said. “They are just amazing. Just having them here happy, alive, getting back to where they were, having my back through those hard times, made me stronger and made me believe in myself a lot more.
The most difficult point for Fernandez came late in the game, when Raducanu, who had grazed his leg, took a medical time out. At the time, Fernandez had a breaking point and was on the verge of recovering the set on serve. But Raducanu, who needed a left knee bandage, returned to the pitch and five points later closed the game.
A frustrated Fernandez discussed the matter with the chair umpire during the timeout and again immediately after the game. As Fernandez sat in his chair, defeated, the ref came down to explain the situation further. Fernandez became visibly upset, in tears. But later she admitted that the incident had been handled properly.
“It just happened in the heat of the moment,” she said. “It was just a shame that it happened at that exact moment with me with the momentum. But it’s sport. It’s tennis. I just have to move on.
It was a moment of reflection for the teenager.
As a newcomer to the tour, Fernandez was a personality largely unknown to many tennis fans. Most had only seen the boiling version, celebrating his remarkable victories. Saturday was the first time they saw how she faced disappointment.
There were a few moments of frustration, a few anguished looks and a few tears. But overall, she behaved pretty much like the champions do. She was proud of herself and was able to see a bigger picture than just one defeat.