Tennis

Alex Eala to skip Australian Open title defense

Beatrice Go
Alex Eala to skip Australian Open title defense

LEVELING UP. Alex Eala is set to hit more milestones in 2022.

Troi Santos/Contributed Photo

The 16-year-old Alex Eala aims to focus on building a career in the women's tennis circuit in 2022

Filipina teen tennis sensation Alex Eala will highly likely miss the 2022 Australian Open as the tournament makes a comeback after two years.

In an interview with Rappler, Eala disclosed her plans to skip the year-opening Grand Slam, which would also forego her juniors double title defense with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho.

“I think for sure that the tournament is going to happen but I will not be going to the Australian Open juniors next year,” said the 16-year-old tennis ace.

“I’m going to focus more on professional tournaments. There’s a couple professional tournaments during the same time as the Australian Open, so I won’t be attending.”

Eala won her maiden Grand Slam title in the 2020 Australian Open girls doubles tournament with Nugroho, which started her year on a high note before the COVID-19 pandemic put the whole sporting world into a standstill.

This year, she claimed her second Grand Slam title in the 2021 French Open with Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva in the girls doubles event.

The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar also said she will be focusing on participating in the women’s circuit in 2022, with the goal of climbing the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings to qualify for the higher-level tournaments.

“For professional tournaments, you get in by ranking, so I’m just trying to work my way up with the tournaments starting from the ones that aren’t as strong as the previous and then just try to get my ranking up slowly and then I’ll progress from there,” said Eala.

This year, Eala won her maiden professional title in January and managed to dip her toes into WTA tournaments like the WTA 1000 Miami Open qualifying and the inaugural WTA 250 Winners Open in Romania.

She notched a career-high professional ranking of No. 505 after her stint in the Winners Open, where she ended in the Round of 16. – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.