Alex Eala's 2023 goals: WTA Tour and senior high graduation

Rosy Mina

Posted at Feb 23 2023 09:21 PM

Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open. Photo courtesy of 2023 Thailand Open.
Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open. Photo courtesy of 2023 Thailand Open.

MANILA – While Filipino tennis sensation Alex Eala aims to level up in her professional career, she continues to be focused on her academics as she is set to complete her high school studies this year.

Inside the court, the 17-year-old reigning US Open Juniors singles winner seeks to participate in more events on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.

“My biggest goal is to integrate myself in the WTA Tour. So, to play more WTA matches,” Eala told ABS-CBN News last month at the Thailand Open, just the fifth WTA event in her career.

“I think that will bring a lot of benefits for me – more experience, I’ll learn how to handle the pressures of certain types of moments, and play certain types of people that I won’t find in lower level tournaments.”

The two-time International Tennis Federation (ITF) women’s singles champion kicked off the 2023 season with a qualifying second-round finish at the W60 Canberra tilt in Australia.

She made her professional grand slam debut in the Australian Open (AO) in Melbourne, where she was ousted in the first round of qualifying.

Over two weeks later in Hua Hin, Thailand, she qualified for a WTA main draw for the first time, but lost in the opening round to 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria of Germany. 

Off court, meanwhile, the Rafa Nadal Academy (RNA) scholar remains preoccupied with her studies at Laurel Springs, an online private school and education partner of RNA.

“I’m graduating high school in June,” shared the junior girls’ doubles titlist at the 2020 AO and 2021 Roland Garros. 

“Well, of course, my career’s already kind of full-time. And in terms of school, I think I’m doing pretty well this year with school also.”

After studying at the Rafa Nadal International School from Grade 8 to Grade 11, the former ITF Juniors World No. 2 moved to Laurel Springs for her senior year.

“I think it’s very popular in the tennis community,” she added of the online school that offers a self-paced and mastery-based program for student athletes, 47 percent of which are tennis players.

Among the notable Laurel Springs alumni are Indian Wells Masters defending champion Taylor Fritz, 2019 Roland Garros semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, and 2022 US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe.

When asked what’s next for her after high school, Eala responded, “I’m still not sure about my plans for university or anything like that. I definitely plan on taking a couple of courses but the details, I’ll iron out when I’ve graduated high school. My priority right now is to just finish that first.”

As for what she will miss the most in RNA after graduation, Eala mentioned the people at the academy based in Nadal’s hometown of Mallorca, Spain.

She then quickly clarified, “Just because I’m graduating high school does not say that I’m going to leave RNA. So I have no really concrete plans yet but I’ve built some good relationships with the people there, and I would like to stay. I can still train there even though I’m not part of the school. Like I’ll train there as a professional.”

Eala, who reached a career-best WTA ranking of No. 214 in October, is currently ranked 217th in the world. 


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