The first Filipina ever to win a US Open Junior Title, Alex Eala reveals that her ace is her parents’ steady and loving support.
“Game, set, match, Eala! 6-2, 6-4!” — that was probably the most defining declaration of junior tennis ace Alex Eala’s Tennis Singles career after winning 2 out of 3 sets against Czechia’s Lucie Havlickova, making her the first-ever Filipina to win a Grand Slam Title. When Alex held her trophy high, she knew it wasn’t just her effort alone. She also had the love and steady support of her parents, Mike and Rizza Eala.
You can check out the highlights of her match against Havlickova on the US Open’s official YouTube Channel.
A family of champions and athletes
It helps to have family members who are familiar with the pro-athlete scene, too. And her parents are not without medals and wins of their own. Rizza Eala won a Bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke in the 1985 Southeast Asia Competition and her brother, Michael (nicknamed Miko) has a few medals as well. According to Mike Eala (Alex’s father) in an interview last 2021, helping both Alex and her brother, Miko (who is playing tennis for Penn State University), become successful was a team effort from both him and their mother, Rizza.
“For things to work out the way they have [worked out], it’s not just the father’s or the mother’s job. It’s a team effort,” he said in Taglish.
Alex Eala has a few other titles under her belt. She won her second Grand Slam Title in Doubles at the 2021 Roland Garros or the French Open with her doubles partner, Russian tennis player Oksana Selekhmeteva.
Being there — win or lose.
No kid enjoys losing. Especially when they know their parents are watching. But Alex finds comfort in how her father approaches her, whether she wins or loses a match. She also shared how he doesn’t just support her financially and emotionally; he’s there to help manage her matches and fights, too.
“He is the best dad I could ask for and of course, everything I do, and all my wins, I dedicate to them (my parents),” beams Eala during an interview.
Moreover, she declares that her dad is one of her greatest role models.
Alex Eala’s Idol: Rafael Nadal
While her dad is a role model for grit and persistence, Alex Eala highly attributes her play style to her idol, Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. “My idol is obviously Rafa. He’s a very good role model, something a lot of people should idolize and try to be. The biggest thing I notice in Rafa is how he fights until the end, and how his thoughts are so clear. He’s so calm, but at the same time so fired up. I think I really tried to channel that energy during this whole week,” she shared during an interview.
We can see it in her style where she plays aggressively at the baseline, quite similar to who the tennis community crowns the King of Clay. Aiming right at the corner and forcing their opponents to run are clear markers of how her style pays tribute to the Spanish player.
She also studied at the Rafael Nadal Academy for Tennis in Spain as a scholar for the past few years.
Filipinas Making History
Yuka Saso, the National Philippines Women’s Football Team, Hidilyn Diaz, and now Alex Eala are making waves in the pro-athlete circuit and Philippine history. But these champions are proof that supportive families are one of the key ingredients in paving the way to success and victory. Congratulations, Alex! #LabanFilipinas!
More about Filipina athletes:
Yuka Saso’s Winning Secret: Parents’ Love and Unwavering Support
The Philippine Women’s National Football Team Paves Way For Aspiring Filipino Footballers
5 Filipino Mom Athletes Who Returned After Giving Birth