In historic US Open victory, Alex Eala channels her inner Rafael Nadal
Mental fortitude is the single most important thing that Alex Eala has taken away from her hero Rafael Nadal, and it is something she has gained from him.
The young woman, who is only 17 years old, won the US Open on September 10 and made history by being the first Filipino to win a junior Grand Slam singles title. Her victory was inspired by Rafael Nadal (Sunday, September 11, Manila time).
Eala finished off her remarkable run in New York with a victory over Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic, who is the defending junior French Open winner. Eala prevailed in the final match with a score of 6-2 and 6-4.
“The biggest thing I noticed in Rafa is how he fights till the end and how his thoughts are so clear and he is so calm, but at the same time, so fired up,” Eala said.
“I think I really tried to channel that energy during this whole week. That is also what I try to show people who look up to me – to think with a clear head and to not act irrationally.”
Eala has made tremendous strides in her game after beginning her training in Spain at the academy of a tennis player who has won a total of 22 Grand Slam titles.
In addition to being a member of the Rafa Nadal Academy for a number of years at this point, Eala has also won two junior Grand Slam doubles championships, the first of which came at the Australian Open in 2020 and the second of which came at the French Open in 2021.
According to Eala, “He is someone a lot of people should idolize and want to be,” and “He is someone a very wonderful role model.”
Eala, who was seeded tenth, finished the event without losing a single set, despite the fact that she was the player with the least amount of experience.
Eala prevailed in both of the tiebreakers that occurred during her victories over higher-seeded opponents Taylah Preston of Australia (8th) and Victoria Mboko of Canada (9th) before bringing down Havlickova, the tournament’s second seed.
I’d have to say that I’m quite pleased with how I dealt with each and every one of the points. “I had a lot of times in this tournament where I was down, and I could have lost a set, and I could have easily been angry, but I did not,” Eala said. “I kept my composure, and I was able to win.”
“I believe that my conduct over the entirety of this week is something that I should be proud of.”
Eala wants to “take a breath” and celebrate her groundbreaking victory with her family now that she has won a Grand Slam championship for the first time in her career.
She remarked, “I would say that the greatest hurdle is certainly being away from my family and many other things that a lot of other tennis players also go through. I would say that the biggest obstacle is probably being away from my family.”
“The secret is to maintain positive relationships with people who inspire me and guide me in the correct direction,” she said.