Joining the tough women’s Grand Slam events remains the ultimate goal for Filipino tennis sensation Alex Eala.
But the recently-crowned US Open juniors singles champion wants to take it one step at a time, starting with improving her current Women’s Tennis Association ranking.
“Grand Slam events are on my radar, but I’m focused on improving my rankings,” said Eala during an online press conference on Friday.
Eala is currently at No. 288 in the WTA ranking. So, her upcoming tournaments will be crucial for her to qualify in the women’s events of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon Open and US Open.
“I like to take it step-by-step, just look at the next step instead of the bigger picture,” she said.
“I like to keep it personal and whether I achieve them or not that’s really up to me, how I prepare myself and how I push myself.”
In a separate interview, Eala’s Filipino coach Karl Santamaria said the 17-year-old ace will try to push her ranking below 200 by yearend to be able to play in the Australian swing in January and February.
He added that Eala will also try to qualify for the Australian Open in January.
After a short rest following her conquest in Flushing Meadows in New York, Eala has already returned to training to prepare for a couple of professional tournaments in California.
“I have already started my training. And I will continue to be here for 10 days or so before my next tournament. I am currently in California,” she said.
Eala knows that moving up in the women’s Grand Slam will not be an easy task.
But she’s ready for the tough grind ahead to improve in all aspects of her game.
“I talk a lot about my mentality but I think I’ve improved in so much more aspects than just that,” the 5-foot-9 Eala said.
“Technically, physically, tactically and part of my plans to just grow them all together. A complete player means all of those aspects and to be good in all of them.”
“I think right now just to continue working on my fitness and I think if my fitness gets better, my technique will get better.”
Eala also wants to learn and gain as much experience as she can in the pro circuit to prepare her for the bigger challenges ahead.
“I think it helped me a lot. In my experience, I see that the pros are much more mentally strong during the tight moments,” she said.
“Of course, there are some juniors that can hold their own during those high-pressure moments. But I feel that it’s more of a common thing that you see in the professional tour and I hope to see more of that and learn more about it.”