By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
YOUNG Filipino tennis ace Alex Eala’s impressive run at the 2020 French Open Juniors’ Grand Slam Tournament came to an end in the semifinals on Friday (Manila time), but despite falling short of her quest to win it all, it was showing she was happy and proud of just as she looks forward to the next challenges for her in the sport.
Eala’s second campaign at Roland Garros was stopped after losing to hometown bet, and eventual champion, Elsa Jacquemot (3-6, 2-6) in the Final Four.
The Filipino, seeded second in the tournament, struggled to get her game going throughout the semifinal contest en route to bowing to her opponent in a little over an hour.
Despite the earlier exit than hoped, however, Eala, who is also a Globe Telecom ambassador, said it was a tournament run that she felt good about as it served to show her continued improvement as a player as well as an opportunity to represent the Philippines in big, international events.
“I’m super happy, and super proud to be representing the Philippines. It’s an honor and the support I’m feeling back home adds to the motivation,” said Eala on the Power & Play with Noli Eala program on Saturday.
“The matches [at the French Open were] different in their own way. I had my ups and downs. This is my second at the French Open and my play was much improved from my first year in 2018,” she added.
Incidentally, the semifinal finish in this year’s French Open was the best to date for her in Grand Slams, topping the third-round ending she had in the 2020 Australian Open in January.
Eala, who is currently based in Mallorca, Spain, as a scholar of the Rafa Nadal Academy, went on to share that heading into Roland Garros she really worked hard on her game and to see the results of it made it more gratifying.
“I [trained] on clay for the past two months, working on and off the court physically. I love the hard court, so I’m pleasantly surprised of doing well on clay,” she said.
Moving forward, Eala said she and her team will continue working on her game, especially being tough mentally since it makes a huge difference in top-level competitions like the French Open.
“Your mentality is really what differentiates you from your opponents. In a tournament like this, skill levels are very much the same. It’s really a matter of who can sustain it more,” she said.
Eala, 15, reiterated her commitment to representing the Philippines the best way she can while hoping in the process she gets to inspire other young tennis players to continue going for their dreams.
“I have two goals for Philippine tennis. First, is for it to be respected in the sports industry that when they face Filipino players, they will not think and say it will be an easy match. Second, is to inspire other young players to do well.”