Tennis: Fil-Aussie Cabrera hails Alex Eala - 'She can only go up from here'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2021 07:11 PM

Fil-Aussie tennis player Lizette Cabrera and Alex Eala. Handout/Kelly Defina, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino-Australian tennis player Lizette Cabrera is impressed with the performances of up-and-comer Alex Eala, and hopes to one day play with the young phenom. 

Cabrera, ranked 141 in the world, was born to Filipino parents in Townsville, Australia and has been competing in the WTA Tour since 2016. 

Speaking to Philippine media in a conference call on Monday, Cabrera expressed her excitement about Eala's career.

"I have been following her progress, I think she's an amazing young player, and she's definitely going to do some damage when she plays more and more matches on the tour," said the 23-year-old Cabrera, who traces her roots to Basilan through her mother and Angeles City through her father. 

Eala, who is only 15 years old, has made waves for her performances on the ITF circuit. She won her first seniors title in Manacor in January, and achieved a career-best WTA ranking of No. 763 in late February. 

"I think she's already on an amazing track. Being able to train at Rafa Nadal's academy, I'm sure she's getting amazing help there," said Cabrera. "She's already ranked 700 and she's only 15. She can only really go up from here."

Cabrera, who trains at the National Academy in Brisbane, is looking forward to one day playing with Eala, to bring a bigger spotlight on Philippine tennis. 

"Hopefully one day, we'll get to play doubles together or something like that, and kind of showcase the Filipinos and kind of what we bring to the table," she said.

At the moment, her only advice to the Filipino prodigy is to "focus on your own journey."

"I think sometimes, people expect -- just because you're doing well now -- that you're meant to hit every single milestone, and be Top 50 and win a Grand Slam, or whatever it is," said Cabrera.

"But you just never really know when your breakthrough is gonna come. So just to continue working at it, and enjoy it and surround yourself with the right people," she added. 

"Just continue to give back as well, to your family, to the Philippines, and yeah, that would pretty much be my advice for her."

Cabrera played in her home Slam, the Australian Open, last month, losing to world No. 2 Simona Halep in the first round. She also played in last year's US Open, losing in the first round to Danka Kovinic. 

She plans to return to action in the Miami Open later this month. 

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