Lefty Eala latest toast of Philippine sports

By September 18, 2022General Admission

By Al S. Mendoza


ALEX Eala became the newest sports sensation when she won the U.S. Open tennis junior singles championship last weekend in New York, USA.

That is no mean feat as Alex crowned herself the best tennis player in the 18-year-old and below in the whole wide world.

That means she is now the toast of both our country and the entire universe—the U.S. Open being the Mt. Everest in world tennis.

She put a dash of drama to her historic victory when she spoke in our national language during her victory speech.

That made her the first Filipino world celebrity to have done that, which all the more endeared her to a country rich in heroism and nationalistic fervor.

Speaking extemporaneously in Tagalog after winning the title by beating her completely outclassed opponent from the Czech Republic, Eala said:  “I would like to thank my family, especially my parents whose support I will forever cherish, my brother Miko, my coaching staff and my sponsors Nike, Globe and Babolat.”

As her words from her native tongue were flowing in beautiful cadence, her eyes were welling with tears.

“I dedicate this victory to my country, and I hope it will help Philippine tennis grow all the more,” she said—still in Tagalog—her voice cracking as the huge Filipino crowd kept cheering her on at Arthur Ashe, the world biggest tennis arena situated at Flushing Meadows, New York City.

Eala is actually no stranger to embracing the spotlight.

In 2020, she won the girls junior doubles crown in the Australian Open, the first of four Grand Slam events calendared every year.

She followed that up with another win on the world stage, this time in the 2021 French Open girls junior doubles event at the famed Roland Garros clay court in Paris.

With her victory in New York, one of the happiest guys celebrating quietly was Rafael Nadal, Eala’s discoverer.

After watching Eala win a championship in France in 2018, Nadal was quickly convinced of Eala’s potential.

And why not?

Nadal, the Spanish Armada, is a living legend for nothing, being the owner of tennis’ all-time best of 22 Grand Slams.

Nadal immediately made Eala his scholar at his own Nadal Tennis Academy in Mallorca, Spain.

To make sure Eala’s studies wouldn’t be compromised if she accepted the offer, Eala enrolled at the International School.

Four years later, Eala, a lefty like Nadal, is a world singles champion.

“I will forever look up to Rafa (Nadal) as my guiding light, my inspiration forever,” said Eala.  “His calmness and his unshakeable resolve to fight for every point up to the last ounce of his strength are what I admire in him the most.”

Only 17, Alex Eala has the world for the taking.

“I’m not thinking of turning pro yet,” she said.  “I still have one year left in the junior ranks.  Right now, I will go home and rest. And enjoy the moment—with my family and the Filipino people.”

So young and already so mature.

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