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Alex draws inspiration from Rafa


‘It is from him that I first heard the advice to surround yourself with good people. The further I go into my journey, the more I feel how important that is.’

MANAN VATSYAYANA/ AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE RAFAEL Nadal serves as the inspiration of Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala.

Rafael Nadal’s influence on Alex Eala is not just limited inside the tennis court.

He is inspiring her off the court as well.

Eala admitted that she is still applying all the lessons taught to her by the Spanish great, who served as her mentor since she was 13 years old.

The 18-year-old Eala is the only Filipino to have graduated at the world-famous Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy in Mallorca, Spain.

In their graduation ceremony last June, the 22-time Grand Slam champion talked about being patient yet determined and resilient not just in tennis but in life in general.

“Give yourself opportunities,” Nadal told Eala and a handful of other tennis scholars.

“This is the reality, don’t get frustrated when things don’t work out the first time, don’t get frustrated when you have been trying for a while and things don’t work out. Keep giving yourself chances.”

Eala said she is still living the values imparted to her by Nadal.

“Rafa has always been one to lead by example,” Eala said in a statement to Daily Tribune.

“It is from him that I first heard the advice to surround yourself with good people. The further I go into my journey, the more I feel how important that is.”

True enough, only the “right people” are on Eala’s side in her young tennis career.

Wherever she goes, she keeps a very small entourage composed of her parents, Mike and Rizza, and RNA coaches headed by Dani Gomez of Brazil.

In fact, during her brief vacation in the country, Eala just stayed at home and trained at the Manila Polo Club with her coaches in preparation for the qualifiers of the Australian Open.

Although she found time to watch a volleyball game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, she still made sure that she was surrounded by people who bring positive influence to her career.

Eala said her decision to move to Spain plays a major role in the company she keeps.

“Tennis has taken up the majority of my time and energy making it difficult to maintain my social life,” she added.

“I am lucky to have those close to me to understand how much effort I put towards my goal.”

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