17 year-old Alex Eala is the first Filipino tennis player to win a junior singles Grand Slam event.
Eala fought for the US Open Girls single title with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech Republic’s Lucie Havlickova. She reached the final round without losing a set through six matches.
She now has three junior Grand Slam titles including the girls doubles championships in the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open.
During the celebratory ceremony, Eala gave her thanks to everyone who has helped her capture the title.
“Unang-una gusto ko lang magpasalamat sa pamilya ko kasi kung hindi para sa kanila, hindi ko talaga kakayanin,” she said holding back tears.
Eala also dedicated her win to the Philippines and to the future of the sport in the country. “Buong puso ko ‘tong pinaglaban hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine tennis. Hindi lang ‘to panalo ko, panalo natin lahat. Thank you.”
She also thanked Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain where she is currently a scholar.
In preparations for the Grand Slam, Eala briefly trained with Poland’s Iga Swiatek at the 2021 Miami Open.