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Eala sad over Swiss retirement

Alex Eala may have been molded by Spanish icon Rafael Nadal, but she acknowledges that the sport will never be the same without his mentor’s greatest rival.

The 17-year-old Eala, who recently won the US Open girls singles title, was one of the many tennis players who expressed sadness when Swiss legend Roger Federer announced his retirement on Thursday.

“I was super sad to wake up to this news. As we all know, he’s such an icon in this sport,” said Eala on Friday during a virtual press conference.

Federer will finally pack his tennis racket after more than two decades of a storied career that saw the 41-year-old prodigy amass 20 Grand Slam titles.

His recent battle with a knee injury forced him to call it quits after the Laver Cup in London next week.

The global icon is also known for the epic showdowns with Nadal, who holds the most number of Grand Slam titles at 22. The men’s tennis giants have crossed paths 14 times at Grand Slam events with Nadal winning 10 of their encounters.

Eala, a scholar of the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy in Spain, said Federer is an inspiration for those aspiring to be successful in the sport – including herself.

 “The thing I admire the most about Roger is his grace on-court and off the court as well,” said Eala, who is currently ranked no. 288 in the Women’s Tennis Association world ranking.

“His composure and just how he carries himself and the image he’s built up over the years.”

Eala will take a breather but will be back in action with at least three more tournaments chalked on her calendar.

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