Mike Eala: 'Alex is special. I hope she continues to be humble and work hard'

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Mike Eala: 'Alex is special. I hope she continues to be humble and work hard'

Mike Eala, the father of Filipina junior tennis champion Alex Eala, says that his daughter is special but he hopes that she continues to work hard and remain humble, in an interview to Rappler. Eala made history recently by winning the Australian Open junior girls doubles title with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho, making her the first Filipina player to capture a Grand Slam crown.

Father Mike says, "She’s special. Alex is special. I just hope that she continues to be humble, she keeps her feet on the ground, she continues to work hard because she knows that everyone else in the world is working hard.

She also has to be patient, she’ll get there. She’s very competitive and that’s very important performing at that high level. To have this natural competitiveness and she’s also very hardworking. She’s driven and she wants to get something done.

She really won’t finish the session until she gets to do it and she plans like she looks forward to the next. She always has an objective and she just goes for it." Alex, who trains at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Spain, commented, "I think that kids or people in general just need to love what they do because the love for the sport and love for whatever you do is really what will get you through the rough times.

If you don’t believe in yourself, then nothing is really going to happen. That’s what I think, that’s what a lot of other people should do. Just believe in yourself and follow your dreams." Alex's mom Rizza, a national level swimmer herself, says, "Well I’m introverted.

I really work hard and I like being alone. So imagine being a swimmer, [I spend] so many hours like 5 or 6 hours a day just in the water. I really didn’t think that ‘hey, I’m going to have kids and then they’re going to be like in sports’.

I wanted them to play some kind of sport but not like at this level. I think my dad knows how to make world-class champions like he did with his two grandchildren." Mike says he is honoured to see his kids go through to such big international events.

"I think there are certain things that everyone finds important to them and for me and my wife, this time is very precious for us to see the kids go through these big international events. It’s such an honor. Me and my wife sometimes forget that she’s only 14 and other people can forget that she’s only 14.

It actually comes out when she leaves the court. When she’s on the plane, and she has her little travel pillow, she looks like any other 14-year-old. But on the court, she’s another woman."