At 17, tennis champ Alex Eala accepts not having 'normal teenage' life

Aeron Gabriel Pantig and Migs Bustos

Posted at Dec 28 2022 04:48 PM

Getty Images/AFP
Alexandra Eala of Philippines celebrates after defeating Lucie Havlickova of Czech Republic during their Junior Girl's Singles Final match on Day Thirteen of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. File photo. Sarah Stier, Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Achievements in any field require sacrifices. And for Filipina tennis champion Alex Eala, it's the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being a teenager. 

"Well, a lot of people say na you're missing out on your childhood, you're whatever, but you give and you take right…I (still) do normal things, it's just less with other people right and you know I sacrifice a lot of the time or a lot of that social (interaction), all of those normal teenage things but I also experience things that a lot of teenagers aren't able to do," in an interview on In the House with Migs Bustos, the 17-year-old Eala shared. 

Last September, the tennis wunderkind became the first Filipino in history to win a juniors singles Grand Slam event after sweeping the entire US Open Girls Singles competition. 

The two-time champion in girl's doubles also donned the national colors in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, where she claimed bronze medals in singles, mixed doubles, and team events.

"I travel around the world and I try not to take that for granted. With the path I've chosen, I kind of realize that if you want to be good and be where I want to be, I can't be the normal teenager," she added. 

Unlike other teenagers who are still in the process of discovering their purpose and passion in life, Eala already pictured her professional journey when she started training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain in 2018. 

"I wouldn't say there's like a specific moment in my life or a specific age in my life where I said na parang ito na yon, yung magiging professional na ko…And when I moved to Spain to pursue tennis and train at the Rafa Nadal Academy, that's kinda when I started to think okay this is really a serious thing, this is a huge commitment, but this is really what I want and It's always been what I wanted," Eala said. 

Eala, currently ranked 214 by the Women's Tennis Association, also shared a sneak peek at her daily routine as a scholar at a high-performance tennis center that world-renowned player Rafael Nadal created. 

"I usually wake up around 6:30 and then have breakfast, get ready, and then I'll warm-up. I have to do a physical warm-up before the training, (then) training for two hours. After that, I'll do fitness for an hour and a half, have lunch, take a break, and then I'm on the court again by around 4-5 or 5:30. And then after that I have to do physio (physiotherapy), and then after that, I have to do recovery and maybe some contrast bath or stretching," she explained.

Hoping to make big waves in the professional ranks next year, Eala is already in the fourth week of her preseason training, where she is focusing on her overall fitness and nutrition. 

Eala will make her senior debut at the Grand Slam stage next year, after securing a spot in the qualification rounds for the 2023 Australian Open.


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