A congratulatory message from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, a Senate resolution of commendation, and the cheers of appreciative Filipinos greeted teenage tennis sensation Alexandra “Alex” Eala’s maiden singles Grand Slam title victory in the US Open Juniors tournament in New York on Sunday (Manila time).
The 17-year-old Eala turned back Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, to become the country’s first-ever Grand Slam titlist.
Filipinos Alex Eala
Speaking in Filipino, she thanked all those who have supported her and made her US Open Juniors tournament campaign a success. On top of her list were her parents, Mike and Rizza, and her brother Miko who she said motivated her to keep going and endure everything.
She thanked those who prayed for her and supported her, particularly her sponsors – Globe, Nike, Babolat, and her Rafa Nadal Academy team.
Eala barged into the finals without dropping a single set. She disposed of Canada’s Victoria Mboko, 6-1, 7-6, in the semifinals after crushing Mirra Andreeva, 6-4, 6-0, in the quarters.
She also outlasted Taylah Preston of Australia, 6-2, 7-6, in the third round following a rousing 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakia’s Nina Vargova in the second round.
Alex Eala opened her bid on a high note via a 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Annabelle Xu of Canada.
“Buong puso ko itong pinaglaban, hindi para lang sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako para sa kinabukasan ng Pilipinas (I fought with all my heart, not just for myself but also to help the future of the Philippines),” the Rafa Nadal Academy scholar from Metro Manila said, adding, “So hindi lang ito panalo ko, panalo nating lahat (So this is not just my win, it’s a victory for all of us). Thank you.”
President Marcos response
Meanwhile, President Marcos wrote on his Facebook, saying, “It is with an immense sense of pride and joy that I congratulate Alex Eala on her historic win at the US Open Junior Girls’ Singles Championship. Another Filipina has raised our flag and made our nation proud. To Alex, thank you, for the honor you brought us, and we, your kababayans, wish you all the best in your journey up ahead. Mabuhay ka!”
The young ace is the only Filipino female tennis player who earned two junior doubles grand slams. She ruled the 2020 Australian Open when she was just 14 years old and the 2021 French Open.
Senate Committee on Sports Chair Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, in a separate Facebook post, lauded the Eala for saying that her win is the triumph of all Filipinos.
Go said, “Nakakaantig nang mapanood ko ang mensahe mong ito, Alex Eala. Super proud ang buong sambayanan sa iyong kampeonato! Si Alex ang Filipina athlete na gumawa ng kasaysayan sa larangan ng sports na tennis bilang kauna-unahang Pilipino na nagwagi sa US Open Juniors Tennis Championships. Salamat sa iyong husay at sa pagdala ng ating bandilang Pilipinas sa ibang bansa. Saludo kami sa iyong tagumpay! Muli, congratulations at mabuhay ka (It was touching to watch your message, Alex Eala. The entire country is super proud of your championship! Alex is the Filipina athlete who made history in the field of sports tennis as the first Filipino to win the US Open Juniors Tennis Championships. Thank you for your skill and for carrying our Philippine flag abroad. We salute your success! Again, congratulations and long live).”
The senators also adopted Senate Resolution No. 199 or the resolution commending and congratulating Alexandra “Alex” Eala for winning the 2022 Girls’ Junior Grand Slam Singles crown of the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York City, USA.
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, who sponsored the resolution during the plenary session, said in his privilege speech, “I’ve been following this young lady’s career for years now, and it is so fulfilling to witness the culmination of all her hard work, dedication, and training with a grand slam championship at the tender age of 17.”
Villanueva praised Eala’s family’s role in her recent feat, for being her backbone in every match she plays inside the tennis court.
The senators were made resolution co-authors.
Former Senator Manny Pacquiao also congratulated Eala, saying: “A nation of over a hundred million people take pride in your accomplishment. My family and I salute you! Keep being an inspiration. Work hard and stay humble. The world has yet to see more of you and what we Filipinos are capable of.”