Like a doting father to his kid on a very important occasion, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal closely monitored tennis prodigy Alex Eala during her intense championship showdown against a world-rated opponent, even though he was halfway around the world.
Nadal’s word of inspiration and encouragement boosted the 15-year-old Eala to play her best game in the W15 event of the Rafael Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour in Manacor, Spain, capped off by her 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over 28-year-old Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (Sunday night in Manila) as she captured her very first professional singles’ title in the International Tennis Federation tour.
“Congratulations @alex.eala for this important moment in your career. We are all very happy for you!” Nadal said.
The world number 2 likewise urged the Filipina tennis phenom to strive even further to get better as she competes professionally. “Keep up the good work and attitude.”
Eala’s triumph has somehow lightened up Nadal’s efforts to prepare for his campaign in tournaments in Australia.
Nadal is currently serving a two-week quarantine period before seeing action in the ATP Cup and the Australian Open.
Nadal, who is working out for up to five hours daily, has been closely watching the events at the W15 tournament, keeping an eye on his Filipina ward, who has been training in at his tennis academy with his brother Miko for the last two years.
Early last year, Miko has gone to the United States to accept a college scholarship.
Since entering Nadal’s academy, Eala has reached her current world junior ranking of no. 3 and started joining pro events last year.
Eala caught the attention of Nadal and his coaches after she won her first ITF junior title at 13 in 2018.
The coaches of the RNA has kept on watching out of Eala after she reached the Orange Bowl semifinals a year later.
Last October, Eala also advanced into the semis at Roland Garros.
Eala, who has been a Globe Ambassador since 2013, booted out several big names in the Manacor competition before clinching the title on Sunday. She kicked things off with a rousing 6-1, 6-2 straight sets win over fellow Nadal tennis scholar Anna Paradisi of Italy in the first round before coming up with a 6-4, 6-1 shock win over top-seeded Australian Seone Mendez in the second round.
She then gutted out a gritty 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over resilient French Carole Monnet in the quarterfinals and then, cruised past Adithya Karunaratne of Hong Kong, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals to set the stage for her title conquest against Nadal’s fellow Spaniard Cavalle-Reimers.
Eala is slated to compete in more tournaments while she continues to sharpen her skills under Nadal’s wings.
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