Alex Eala, the young darling of Philippine tennis, reached a milestone in 2022 when she captured the 142nd US Open junior girls’ singles championship under the bright lights of New York City.
The 17-year-old southpaw won the finals without dropping a set to highlight her 6-2, 6-4 domination of third seed Czech Lucie Havlickova during the finals at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.
It was truly one memorable ride for Eala, who went down in history as the first ever Filipina player to bag a junior singles grand slam crown.
In a scene that truly warmed the heart, Eala proudly spoke in Filipino for the entire world to hear while shedding tears of joy during her acceptance speech.
A student of the Rafael Nadal Academy, the 5-foot-9 stunner already own two grand slam titles in the past, but in doubles competition during the 2019 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open, respectively.
Her breakthrough feat and achieving history at such a young age made Eala the perfect choice for the President’s Award in the coming San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards Night.
“Her sacrifices and relentless drive to improve her craft should serve as template to success. Alex Eala is truly worthy to be a role model especially among the Filipino youth,” said PSA president Rey Lachica, sports editor of Tempo.
Set on 6 March at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel, the traditional awards night by the country’s oldest media organization is presented by the Philippine Sports Commission and Cignal TV, and ably supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee, Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino, MILO, MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, Philippine Basketball Association, Rain or Shine, ICTSI, and OKBet.
Based in Mallorca, Spain for some time now, Eala is in good company as previous recipients of the PSA President’s Award include Olympians Yuka Saso and Caloy Yulo, NU Lady Bulldogs, pool champions Rubilen Amit, Dennis Orcollo, and Lee Van Corteza, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, among others.
Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal winner, is the 2022 Athlete of the Year following her three-gold medal romp in the 88th IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia.
Eala is currently in Manila for a brief vacation following her stint in the Thailand Open.
She’s set to fly back to Mallorca next week and start focusing on the professional tour and improve her current world ranking of 217.