Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Leylah Annie Fernandez serves up determination

The Player's Own Voice podcast drops new episodes all throughout Tokyo 2020. Entering the International Broadcast Centre today: Canada's 18-year-old tennis phenom Leylah Annie Fernandez.

18-year-old rising star is even hungrier after making her Olympic debut

Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez drops into the International Broadcast Center in Tokyo to join the Player's Own Voice Podcast. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Leylah Annie Fernandez, the 2019 world number one junior tennis player, is as hungry as they make them.

Still only 18 years old, the Canadian competitor has just finished a very respectable Olympic debut. She won her opening match, and only fell short against Barbora Krejcikova, who happens to be this year's French Open winner in both singles and doubles.

But if you think this young player finds solace in being outplayed only by a current grand slam winner, you'd be sorely underestimating the competitor's mind.

Fernandez hates to lose. Period. She also hates it when so-called tennis experts dismiss athletes who don't fit the standard idea of a classic physique.

Fernandez is adamant that you needn't be a giant to thrive in sport. All it takes is for coaches and federations to recognize and work with a player's raw attributes. Watch her and agree — instinct and hard work can take it from there.

Player's Own Voice will be working straight through the Tokyo Olympics, dropping episodes every day or two. These are friendly, intimate conversations with athletes at the pinnacle of their careers.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series  the podcast allows athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to the entire fourth season of POV podcast, subscribe for free on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you do your other podcast listening.

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