Little Sarah L’Allier was only 8 years old when she took a photo with Eugenie Bouchard during a Quebec team camp held in Montreal, in 2014. This simple meeting could only fuel the desire to child to become a professional tennis player.
“She was a childhood idol and that day, she even took the time to exchange a few balls with me,” recalls the rising tennis star.
Now 14 years old, Sarah L’Allier is already the Quebec champion in the 18 and under category. Continuing her development, she also made her debut on the ITF junior circuit.
In November, L’Allier even reached the final of a tournament played in El Salvador. She also faced her best friend, the American Mia Slama, in the final match.
“I won the second round, but I ended up losing in three sets,” said the Montrealer. Of course, it’s not easy to face your friend in the final, but it was a good match. Mia is more of a turner, while I am a hitter. ”
A trip to Florida
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, L’Allier spent a few weeks in Florida this fall. She then stayed with her friend Mia, whose father Marc is director of the NexGen Tennis International Academy, in the Boca Raton region. All together, they traveled, especially in Central America.
“The goal was to do a few ITF tournaments and see different players,” noted the young Quebecer. Going to Florida has helped me a lot, I feel like I keep improving everything in my game. ”
Obviously, at 14, L’Allier must also continue her studies, she who attends the distance school of the Académie les Estacades. A sign that she is doing quite well, she recently won a scholarship from the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence. He was thus awarded $ 4000 for his academic and athletic results.
Considering its recent progression, this scholarship will be very useful to cover certain expenses for future trips. Back in Quebec for the holiday season, L’Allier will chase his dream by participating in many more tournaments on the ITF junior circuit in 2021, depending on the state of the pandemic.
Ultimately, the day may come when it’s Sarah L’Allier who, by agreeing to take a photo and simply exchanging a few balls, will inspire a younger than herself.
L’Allier and Fernandez: family stories
If she grew up observing Eugenie Bouchard’s career from afar, the young Sarah L’Allier also benefited from a very beautiful model in her entourage, that is, Leylah Annie Fernandez, who is currently ranked 88th in the world in the WTA.
“You could tell she’s a friend of the family,” said Sarah. At the start, she’s my big sister [Maude] who played against her in tournaments. And I have always been in the same category as Bianca, Leylah’s little sister. Younger, we even played doubles together, Bianca and me. “
As much for the L’Alliers as for the Fernandez, tennis is a family affair. Dads have been particularly involved in the sport development of their children. So much so that a friendship has developed between Mathieu L’Allier and Jorge Fernandez. The links remain in fact despite the Fernandez family moving to Florida a few years ago.
“It inspires me to know where she started from, we come from the same place,” noted Sarah, who had notably seen her motivation increase tenfold when Leylah Annie Fernandez was crowned junior champion at Roland Garros in June 2019 .
Participating in Grand Slam tournaments among juniors is precisely one of the next steps that Sarah L’Allier wants to take in a few years.
“In the short term, I aim to climb quickly in the ITF rankings to reach the top 350 among juniors and I would like in the next few years to participate in Grand Slam tournaments”, said the one who, limited in the number of tournaments played during the pandemic, ranks 839th in the world.
For the rest, L’Allier does not hide that she favors a professional career rather than finding herself in an American university and evolving in the NCAA.
“I don’t have a deadline, but let’s say I would like to move on to the professional circuit as quickly as possible,” she said.
– To complete the portrait of the L’Allier family, there is also Marc-Édouard who, at age 10, was crowned Quebec champion in his category last September.
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116