It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

‘Every loss makes Alex stronger and fiercer,’ says tennis sensation’s dad Mike Eala

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Filipina tennis protégé Alex Eala may have bowed out after the third round of the W60 Bellinzona tournament on Thursday in Switzerland, but her parents insist ‘there is nothing to be discouraged about’.

Alex’s parents are even grateful that their 15-year-old daughter is slowly inching closer to her dream of qualifying into the WTA grand slam tournaments.

“Alex is a fast learner and she never gets dispirited with every loss, in fact it makes her stronger and fiercer,” said Mike Eala, Alex’s father.

“She seems to be laser focused on her tennis. She knows that if she keeps her focus on her level of play, keeps her head down and works hard, the wins will eventually come,” he added.

And it seems Alex, supported by Globe Telecom, is on the right track.

In her recent campaign in Switzerland, the 715th ranked Eala beat higher rated foes in France’s Margot Yerolymus (323rd) and Laura Iona-Parr (206th) of Romania. The wins are expected to improve her WTA ratings when the next rankings are released next week.

Not only that, Eala has been steadily improving in her skills particularly in her serves, backhand slice and drop shots that impressed her Rafa Nadal Academy coach Daniel Gomez.

She is also beginning to shake off in-game issues like hunger and extreme cold which she experienced during her 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-0 win over Paar.

“She video called us right after the match. She was hungry daw and it was so cold…It was a three-set match and it started late as the previous match on her court was also a long 3-setter. So she finished (the game) about dinner time na rin,” Alex’s father added.

To lift her morale, the 15-year old tennis protege regularly holds group video chats with her family and friends.

The father also shared that the Swiss tournament is perhaps one of the most challenging for the family as quarantine protocols prevented him and wife Rizza, from joining Alex in Europe.

“We are in the US and Alex is in Switzerland. We weren’t allowed to enter the European Union because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, but Alex is OK being a student resident of the Rafa Nadal Academy,” said Mike Eala.

But amidst the halfway across-the-globe distance and their tight schedules, the family is able to connect regularly to their loved ones here in the Philippines through video calls.

“We are lucky to be in a generation with telecommunications companies like Globe where we can connect, wherever we are. Like in this case, we have a family group chat with extended family members in the Philippines, where we continue to keep in touch,” said her dad.