FAST FACTS: Who is teen tennis sensation Alex Eala?

MANILA, Philippines – At 14 years old, Alex Eala already made Philippine sports history as the first Filipina Grand Slam champion after clinching the 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles title on Friday, January 31.



Fresh off a stellar 2019 run where she gained a maiden Grand Slam berth in the US Open, Eala got off to an impressive start this year as she climbed up the rankings of the world juniors circuit and captured her maiden Grand Slam crown.



On Tuesday, February 4, Eala nailed a career-high No. 4 ranking in world juniors tennis.

Find out more about the country’s latest teen sensation:

1. She comes from a family of athletes

SPORTS FAMILY. The Eala family (from left) of Miko, mom Rizza, Alex and dad Michael Francis attend the 2020 Australian Open. Photo from Rizza Maniego-Eala’s Facebook




The tennis star is no stranger to sports as both sides of her family are Philippine sports personalities. (WATCH: Alex Eala on the rise in PH tennis)

Her mother, Rizza Maniego-Eala, was a women’s 100m backstroke bronze medalist in the 1985 Southeast Asian Games.




Rizza’s sister is also a former national swimmer while her brother is a swimmer-turned-tennis-player for the University of the Philippines (UP) tennis varsity.

Alex has an older brother, Miko, who is also a budding tennis player at the Rafael Nadal Academy.

The 17-year-old Miko came close to qualifying for the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open juniors tournament, but fell short in the finals.

He also conquered the Hellenic Bank Masters Tennis Academy tournament in Cyprus last November and dedicated the win to his late grandfather Bobby Maniego, who introduced both Eala siblings to the sport.

Alex is also related to former sports commentator and PBA commissioner Noli Eala, who served as the pro basketball league’s commissioner from 2003-2005.




2. She is a Rafael Nadal Academy scholar

IMPROVEMENT. Alex Eala’s skills continue to improve thanks to the Rafael Nadal Academy. Photo from Rafael Nadal Academy Facebook

After clinching a wildcard to the 2018 Roland Garros juniors tournament qualifiers, Alex attracted scouts from the Rafael Nadal Academy, which is run by the 11-time Grand Slam titlist himself.

The Fiipina teen netter eventually received a scholarship together with her brother Miko and has been studying at the American International School of Mallorca, which is located inside the academy, since September 2018.

Alex said the academy has given her the best environment to improve her tennis skills with a consistent training regimen and hitting partners who come from different parts of Europe.

“I think the Academy was a big help for me. My tennis has shot up a lot since I moved and I think my serve and my confidence has improved a lot,” she said.

With the help of her coaches in the academy, she will be able to prime herself for the high-level women’s tournaments which she’s looking to join by March.


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