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Eala hopes Barcelona tilt will ready her for French Open

alex eala

FILE – Filipino tennis player Alex Eala. Photo from Rafael Nadal Academy

Filipino tennis star Alex Eala turns 16 on Sunday, the same weekend she starts her clay campaign with the W25 in Platja D’Aro in Spain.

She hopes to get into top clay shape as she prepares for another big event in her calendar: the French Open juniors competition in the first week of June.

Eala previously skipped two tournaments in Turkey because of the coronavirus situation there. But she’s ready to hone herself in Barcelona, which she hopes would help her prepare for the clay courts at Roland Garros.

Now ranked 659 in WTA and No. 3 in juniors, Eala hops between women’s and juniors tournaments to maximize the competitions available to her.

But it looks like Eala is already at home playing in the big leagues: “I just love being there and being in that sort of company, I get comfortable and want more of it,” she wrote in her blog that was posted on the ITF website.

“I just try to absorb and take in as much as I possibly could while I was there,” continued Eala who wrote her entry after coming back from Miami Open.

“It was completely new environment and atmosphere for me and it was fantastic to be among top players and to see their work ethics while to compete among them was a huge opportunity,” she said.

She was referring to the likes of Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko whom she had rubbed elbows with during the prestigious meet.

“I have mixed feelings about the takeaways … (because) it humbled me but on the other hand it gave me hope and showed that if I continue working hard then I’m on the right path,” she said.

For her coming French Open juniors competition, Eala is hoping to surpass her semifinals finish last year which was already was the best for any Filipino girl.

Last month she got to hit with 2020 Franch Open champ Iga Swiatek at Rafael Nadal Academy, where she is a scholar.

Eala described the 19-year-old Polish star as “someone whose past I can relate to and hopefully I am on track to emulate here; I definitely see her as an example to follow.”

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