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Alex Eala is Now World No. 4 Player in Junior Tennis Rankings

By KERRY TINGA

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Exuding such confidence on the court, it is easy to forget that she is still just a 14-year-old girl with so much of her future ahead of her. On Jan. 31, Alex Eala claimed the 2020 Australian Open Juniors doubles champion with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho. Three days later, she was on a flight back to Mallorca, where she boards, studies, and trains at the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy as a scholar.

Ranked No. 9 before the Australian Open, Eala has risen five spots. She is now ranked No. 4 in the junior circuit, with her eyes set on greater accomplishments to come. With racquet in hand, and family in her heart, this is just the beginning.

In the brief weekend period in between the Australian Open and her return to the Academy, she and brother Miko, a tennis champion also at the Academy, were able to stop by the Philippines to see friends and family. Two days were not long enough, the breaks were never long enough to spend with all the people they miss, but they know that it is all in their best interest.

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MATCH POINT Alex Eala with her doubles partner Priska Nugroho at the 2020 Australia Open

“There are a lot of things and a lot of people I miss from home,” said Eala. She is well spoken but probably wishes she could trade the microphone for a racquet instead. “I know that they are doing what is best for me, and I know that it is what is best for me,” she added. “I know that they are willing to sacrifice that, and I am happy to do the same.”

The sacrifices she goes through are on and off the court. At her age it is a lot to take in, to live and train in a foreign country. But her commitment to the sport does not waver. Like she says, she knows that it is what is best for her. The Australian Open trophy sat on her lap, shinning, and a sign that it had been worth the tireless hard work, commitments, and sacrifices.

She offers these words of advice for young people her age, but applicable to all ages:

The love for the sport, the love for whatever they do, that is what is going to get them through the hard times. And to surround yourself with people who support you because they are also going to help you get through the rough patches.

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VAMOS Rafael Nadal with Alex Eala and her tennis coach at the Academy, Daniel Rocha Gomez

While training for a Grand Slam tournament could well be considered difficult and a testing time, the roughest patches were off the court, and with the glory come the personal heartbreaks too.

“Lolo Bob, the father of my wife, started Alex and Miko in tennis from when they were kids,” said Michael Eala, their father, “He passed away November of last year. It was a tough year, last year, my father also passed away in April. The kids were both at the Rafael Nadal Academy at the time. These are the certain moments that are challenging for everybody.”

In the face of tragedy, the love of the sport kept her going, and kept pushing her knowing that he knew that it was what was best for her and her dream. When her father was done speaking she leaned in to give him a hug. Together they remember her grandfather and all of the family she misses when she is halfway across the world training and studying.

Life is unpredictable, and like a match of tennis it can have us running all over the court trying to just stay in the game, using up our energy as we hit back without any thought, control, or precision. But the guiding principle of love of sport, backed with the support of loved ones, Eala is poised to continue her meteoric climb to the top of the international tennis scene.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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