Alex Eala is raring to get back to work after an unforgettable French Open Juniors stint that saw her becoming the first Filipina to make it to a Grand Slam singles semifinal.
Now back at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain, Eala carries memories and lessons that could help develop her craft.
“I learned a lot of things about my game and what I need to improve,” the 15-year-old PH bet said in a virtual press conference Sunday night.
“I saw the differences between the pros and juniors just like most of the Grand Slams that I go to and I think I now have a clear image on what I need to work on.”
Eala fell short of her bid for a second Grand Slam title after yielding to hometown bet Elsa Jacquemot, who eventually clinched the girls singles title against Russian Alina Charaeva.
Eala said she treasured the match despite the defeat.
“Going to the match, I was focused on what to do. But she’s had a lot of experience in the women’s tour. Still, I’m happy with the way I fought. It was really a good match… a lot of things to take away from,” she said.
Eala hopes her accomplishment in tennis would put the country to relevance in the international sporting scene.
“I think a lot of people underestimate the Filipinos when it comes to sports and especially tennis, so to be able to bring some light to the reputation of the Philippines, it’s really an honor,” she said.
Eala said her coaches are planning to balance her women’s and juniors competitions in the future, joining her to more $15,000 women’s tournaments despite her age.
“My coaches are still planning on which tournaments I can join, but I want to compete more on the higher level,” she said.