Filipino tennis prodigy Alex Eala has continued to turn heads in major tournaments after winning her second grand slam title in girls doubles at the French Open -- all thanks to the support she is receiving including from the Rafa Nadal Academy.
Having been a scholar in an academy founded by one of the greatest athletes to ever play the sport, it is not surprising that Eala had some chances to see Nadal during practices and even sit down with him for a short conversation.
In a virtual interview with Philippine press, the 16-year-old rising tennis star revealed that she once asked the “King of Clay” about accomplishing a handful of achievements at a young age.
“There are many questions I could ask Rafa 'coz his career has been so long and there's been so many obstacles he has to overcome but I asked him a question the last time I talked to him,” she said. “He got to success at a young age. How did he keep going and not burn out?”
Alex’s question received an inspiring answer from the 20-time grand slam champion which the young tennis player promises to carry in her entire career.
“He told me to just be humble and accept everything that the coaches say and keep wanting to improve and that's what I am doing now. And I think I would carry that for the rest of my life,” Eala quipped.
Aside from the advice of Nadal, Eala has also put into her mind to always surround herself with the right people.
“There are always good times and hard times, and that's part of being a tennis player and being an athlete. I think it's always to stay positive and to have the right people to keep pushing you,” she added.
Eala won the Australian Open girls’ doubles title in 2020 before ruling the Roland Garros earlier this June. She also reached no. 2 ranking in the ITF junior last October 2020.
Asked if she is copying some playing styles from other athletes in the tour, Eala firmly said she is not basing her tennis from anyone and just doing what she trains when inside the court.
She, however, named former world number 1 and two-time slam champion Simona Halep as one of her idols in the WTA aside from Polish athlete Iga Świątek.
“I love their attitude and their personality on how they are so humble and nice. I learned things from their mental state and from how they act on court,” Eala added.
Eala is gearing up for another major tournament in London, England for Wimbledon.