Filipina teen tennister Alex Eala has been making a name for herself in the world of tennis.
The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar has made history for the Philippines, as “the country had not been represented in the girls’ draw at a World Junior Tennis Finals since 1993,” according to the global tennis school. At a Grand Slam event held early this year, Eala bagged a trophy from the 2020 Australian Open Juniors doubles tourney alongside her partner Priska Nugroho of Indonesia. At only 15 years old, she became the second Pinoy to get to a junior Grand Slam singles semifinals after Felix Barrientos, who achieved such milestone in 1985.
PhilSTAR L!FE got to talk to the aspiring tennis great about her typical day as a young athlete, the challenges that come with it, and how she finds balance in them all. Get to know her in our conversation below.
What types of workout do you do outside the court and how often do you do it?
I do fitness or gym every day also as much as I do tennis—not as long but I do focus on it a lot. And now that I’m back home and these next few weeks are my pre-season, meaning, I need to focus a lot on my fitness, so I’m focusing a lot on my strength and all my cardio.
What’s on your workout playlist?
Anything trendy. I don’t really have a specific genre that I listen to. Anything upbeat, and I listen to a lot of Spanish songs when I’m working out.
So you don’t have any specific band that you like? Anything goes?
Not really. I’m into more chill songs but for training, of course, I need feel-good music while training.
What kind of shows and movies do you like?
Right now, I’m watching Modern Family. I’m into more comedy or stuff that are nothing complicated and easy to follow so I can multitask while watching. I’m also into horror.
What was the last movie or show that made you cry?
I don’t cry a lot during movies.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
No one specific, I think.
What’s the number one thing on your bucket list now?
To go to Wimbledon, to play in Wimbledon. I was supposed to go the past two years, this year and last year, but last year I couldn’t get the visa and this year it got cancelled because of COVID so I would really like to go to Wimbledon.
Among the countries you have visited, which one is the most memorable to you?
I feel like I have the most memories in Spain, of course. But I really loved going to Japan, it was really fun. I was there with my coach and my other friends. I have a lot of memories. I feel like the most fun ones are the trips I go with my friends because a lot of times I travel alone with a coach or the ones where I go with the team—those I find the most fun.
What kind of books do you read?
I love Rafa’s book, actually. I just read it recently and I really liked it and it’s something I could really relate to, being a tennis player. It’s about his journey in being a tennis player and all of the developments, and specific matches, and how he felt during those specific points. You could really relate. I would read it and I’d be like, “Oh! I know, I know. I have points like that!”
What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
My coaches have been pushing me to be stricter with my diet but when I’m home, I eat so much rice and everything. It’s good in moderation. I like ice cream. Rice, ice cream, or milk tea. I love milk tea din.
Do you keep in touch with the persons you meet during tournaments?
Some, some. But a lot of the times, not really. I’d see them in another tournament and say hi but not constantly.
Is it hard to maintain friendships or relationships because of your training?
Yes, actually. For me, it’s really hard friendship-wise. It’s best of both worlds because tennis gives me a lot of friendships, it helps me build a lot of friendships so I spend a lot of time with my friends when I’m in Spain but at the same time, I did lose a lot of friends from back home here that I haven’t been able to get in touch with. I only have a handful of people I still contact here in the Philippines.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up 6:30 a.m. and then have training from 8 a.m. until 12:15 noon. And then school until 5:45 p.m. and then maybe train a bit from 6 to 7 p.m.
What do you do for relaxation and what’s a chill day like for you?
Usually, I try to stay in bed more like especially now with COVID, the rules for going out are a lot more strict so I’ll stay in my room a lot and maybe spend time with my friends and watch a lot of movies. Usually if it’s a chill day, it’s also a day where I can let go a bit in food so maybe I’ll eat a bit.
Article thumbnails from Alex Eala's Instagram account