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Eala enjoys break, unsure of SEA Games stint

Filipino tennis star Alex Eala has not gripped her racket for the last two days as she takes a much-needed break from competition at home.

“I’ve been spending time with my family while on my break so that’s important,” Eala said.

“Right now, I’m on vacation so I haven’t been training in the past couple of days.”

The 17-year-old scholar of the Rafael Nadal Academy faced the media Tuesday at The Globe Tower in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

She said she will stay in the country until 15 February.

Her recent tournament was on 30 January during the Women’s Tennis Association 250 Thailand Open where she suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Tatjana Maria of Germany in the Round of 32.

She briefly stayed in the country last month to prepare for the Thailand Open.

Alex’s father, Mike Eala, told Daily Tribune that Alex returned last week.

“We’re just spending time with the family, having dinners and lunches. Nothing out of town since we’re always out of town,” the elder Eala said.

After an early exit in the 2023 Australian Open due to a 6-4, 6-7, 3-6 loss to Misaki Doi of Japan, Eala is setting her sights on qualifying for this year’s French Open.

With her limited set of competitions to bolster her WTA ranking, Eala said her participation in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games this 5 to 17 May in Cambodia is still up in the air.

She made her SEA Games debut last year in Hanoi, bagging three bronze medals.

“I have to defend points and hopefully gain points if I can and it also depends on who joins the tournaments and who backs out,” Eala said.

“I have to budget my tournaments because as a 17-year-old, I only have 20 tournaments. The Thailand Open was my 15th so until the French Open qualifiers, I have five more.”

Eala explained why she could not commit to the SEA Games.

“I would love to represent the Philippines again in the SEA Games. But from what I know, it might interfere with the qualifications of the French Open, and the preparations prior,” she said.

“So I haven’t yet sat down with my team and discussed whether that’s something that’s going to be included in the schedule.”

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