On Saturday afternoon, 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez lost the US Women Open Tennis Tournament final but won the hearts of everyone who watched the match.
Fernandez lost to 18-year-old Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in the first women’s match of teenagers in 22 years.
The US Tennis Open was always played close to my home when I was growing up, so I have a special affinity to enjoying those raucous NY crowds cheering on the favorites and the long shots. The fans at home and in Arthur Ashe Stadium got their money’s worth in watching these 2 budding tennis stars battle for the championship.
Upon saying a few words about the thrill of being in the finals and congratulating her opponent on her victory Leylah reached for the microphone and acknowledged what a difficult day this day, 9/11, was for New Yorkers and the nation and how she hoped that she could be as resilient in her life, as the City and its residents have been for the past 20 years.
She had those fans on their feet with tears in their eyes, while social media blew up with praise coming from all corners about the sensitivity, maturity, and wisdom this young woman demonstrated by honoring that date and its impact.
No doubt, Leylah is back on the court today working on her game. Like all of us, her resilience is built in and the inspiration and love she gained from those fans will propel her success.
In a similar vein, those fans walked away from the Women’s Championship appreciating that their resilience was affirmed. Recognizing and acknowledging wins helps them occur again and ensures that the behaviors are repeated in the same and new situations.
Go ahead and let someone know that you see how they’ve done well and achieved a meaningful accomplishment. It will bring a smile to their face and a warmth to you heart.
© Richard Citrin 2021