Surprise semi-finalist Leylah Fernandez has surprised tennis legend John McEnroe as Canada has emerged as a real tennis powerhouse at the US Open.

As well as Fernandez’s run, Bianca Andreescu made the last 16 and Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov have both done well – compared to no US players in either mens or women’s in thew last 16.

“What’s with Canada?” McEnroe said. “They’re hockey players! They’re not tennis players. They play good hockey. They’re not supposed to beat Americans in tennis.”

Fernandez was asked what the secret to Canada’s success was in her post-match interview and her reply may have been a joke, but it sums up the way this carefree teenage is enjoying her tennis.

Leylah Fernandez falls to the court after winning her quarter-final. Photo: Darren Carroll/USTA

“I would say it’s the maple syrup,” the Montreal-born Fernandez joked. “Canadian maple syrup is very good.”

Ranked No. 73, Fernandez is only the third Canadian woman ever to reach the semi-finals at the US Open. She’s also the youngest player ever to defeat two top-five opponents at the same major since Serena Williams in 1999.