Alex Eala always grateful for Rafael Nadal’s support
MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala is honored to receive a congratulatory message from Rafael Nadal after she made history as the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title.
“I am super happy about Rafa, of course, greeting me on Instagram. It’s not an everyday thing that that happens. (I’m) so super blessed,” said the history-making Rafa Nadal Academy scholar during her virtual media availability on Friday.
Nadal, the ‘King of Clay’, commented on the 17-year-old Filipino tennis star’s Instagram post on Wednesday, acknowledging his scholar’s recent achievement in the US Open girls’ singles tournament.
“Congrats on this great achievement and keep (up) the good and hard work!!! Vamos!” the tennis legend wrote.
Eala replied: “Always grateful.”
Days ago, the World No. 3 in singles also reposted the congratulatory billboards and newspaper headlines from Eala’s successful US Open stint on his Instagram story with five clapping emojis.
The three-time Grand Slam juniors winner, who also earned doubles titles in the past two years, said the Rafa Nadal Academy shaped up her young tennis career with the environment in Spain, seeing Nadal’s work ethic.
“There (are) definitely so many things you can learn at the academy. Not just (from) Rafa, but from the environment there,” Eala said. “From Rafa, you see him almost every day, his work ethic, so many things you can absorb and learn and it has been a huge part of my development as a player. And I’m grateful.”
The Filipino prodigy started training at Nadal’s academy in Mallorca when she was 14 years old.
In fact, Eala said she channeled her idol Nadal during her magical run in the US Open juniors capped by a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic last Sunday in the girls’ final.