FILIPINA TENNIS YOUNG STAR JOINS ASIA TEAM
FUTURE OF PHILIPPINE TENNIS. Thirteen-year-old Alexandra Eala in action during a tournament at the Manila Polo Club in Makati last year. (Contributed photo)
MANILA — Filipino junior standout Alexandra "Alex" Eala is one of three girls in the Asian 16 and Under Team that will compete in three tournaments in India this month.
Joining the 13-year-old Eala, who is currently No. 218 in the world juniors rankings, are Li Yu-Yun of Chinese Taipei (No. 353) and Safi Meshkatolzahra of Iran (No. 577).
Wang Xiaofei of China (No. 191), Saud Alhaqbani of Saudi Arabia (No. 517), Tim Thomas Gauntlett of Hong Kong (No. 543) and Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand (No. 545) are also in the team supported by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Grand Slam Development Fund.
The players, who are the most promising netters in their respective countries, arrived in New Delhi last January 4 and trained at the RK Khanna Tennis Center the next day. They are now in Chandigarh for the first leg of the India ITF Juniors which will run from January 7 to 12.
From Chandigarh, the players will return to New Delhi for another tournament slated January 14 to 19 before proceeding to Kolkata for the DKS ITF Juniors set on January 21 to 26.
Czarina Arevalo, herself a standout during her juniors and has represented the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and Fed Cup, was appointed by the ATF to coach the girls team.
Kumar Mahajan of India, on the other hand, will handle the boys team.
Being named to the Asian 16 and Under Team is another feather in the cap for Eala, who is the Philippines' No. 1 player in the 16-under and 14-under categories.
Last year, she was granted a scholarship to train at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain and study at the American International School of Mallorca, which is inside the academy. She is in Grade 8.
Eala kicked off her 2018 campaign by joining and winning the prestigious Les Petits As (small champions in English) tournament for players 12 to 14 years old in Tarbes, France in January. She is the first wild card champion in the tournament's 36-year old history.
Eala's victory at Les Petits As earned her a wild card in the Qualifying of the French Open Juniors in May. She made it to the final qualifying round.
From July to August, Eala won both singles and doubles at the Category 1 events in Hasselt (Belgium) and Oosterbeck (Netherlands) as well as the singles and doubles at a Category 2 event in Nantes (France).
Eala, who will turn 14 in May, was awarded the 2018 Overseas Player of the Year in the girls division by Tennis Europe “for her massive impact on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour”.
Eala also played in the ITF Juniors Circuit events in Alicante, Spain (singles and doubles champions), Manila (first leg champion and second leg runner-up) and Indonesia (runner-up). (PNA)
Photo from PNA Contributed Photos