September 17, 2022 | 11:49am
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine tennis phenom Alex Eala enshrined herself in the history books last weekend when she became the first Filipino ever to win a Juniors Grand Slam, ruling the US Open Girls’ Singles in New York.
Despite the glitz and glamor of being a professional tennis star, it’s not always blue skies for the 17-year-old nighter.
In fact, Eala admits that there are many sacrifices involved in reaching the career milestones she has hit at her very young age. From juggling school work with tennis, to the physical strain that the sport puts on her body.
But the most impactful thing that Eala has had to go through in order to pursue her success was moving away from the Philippines to Spain to train and study at the Rafa Nadal Academy.
Speaking in a press conference organized by Globe on Friday, Eala opened up about how difficult it can be to be miles away from her loved ones.
“Well, I think the biggest sacrifice that I had to do is you know, to move to Spain, it’s also just isn’t a sacrifice for me, it was my family’s sacrifice as well,” said Eala.
“Because, it’s not as often now that we get to be together and complete. But as I’ve said, they’re very supportive and everyone understands the need for that, for me to stay at the academy and to train professionally.” she continued.
Still, Eala’s family tries their best to be present during her competitions. They were around in the Flushing Meadows of New York when the former ITF Juniors World No. 2 clinched her first-ever singles Grand Slam title.
Both her parents Mike and Rizza, as well as her older brother and RNA graduate Miko, were there to witness Eala’s history making victory.
The 17-year-old admitted that family has a huge impact in her life, they were also the first ones she mentioned in her victory speech at the US Open — which she made in Filipino.
“I consider myself super lucky with the support system I have, a lot of young kids don’t have access to that,” said Eala.
“They’ve been super involved in everything, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. Since I was 4 years old, and every step they guide me in whatever help I needed,” she concluded.
Eala is currently in the US still to continue training for her remaining tournaments in the year. She is expected to return to the pro ranks after the US Open.
She expressed doubt on whether or not she could go home by the end of the year to Manila for some rest and relaxation because of her schedule.
“I would love to go home, I would really love to go home. I think that, especially my family, deserves to share this win with me and I just want to tell them about all of my matches, all of the experiences that I hate,” said Eala.
“But unfortunately, it’s not so easy to schedule that, of course, mahal yung byahe and wala din ako masyadong oras, because as you said, I have a lot of tournaments and I think it’s part of the journey and it’s part of keeping my head down is that I’m reminded that I still have to work and life still goes on even after a big win.”