The young Filipina tennis star is relishing her time to study, to bond with relatives, and to embark on a food trip.
There's nothing more comforting than coming back to the Philippines for some food. Just ask Alex Eala.
The young Filipina tennis star shared exactly what she likes to do after returning to the country as she takes a break from training.
"I guess it's just like certain kinds of food, a lot of Pinoy food," Eala said during a press conference. "Every time I come back, I always get barbecue."
Not chicken, mind you. "Pork, strictly pork," Eala added.
The 17-year-old admitted that coming home at this time is a new experience for her, since she usually returns for the holidays or during the summer break to bond with her cousins. This time, Eala is taking advantage of the cool-off period to actually do her homework.
The senior high school student had enrolled in an online school, admitting it became more difficult to focus on in-person classes.
"I found it easier now in online school, I can manage my work also," she said.
That flexibility also means Eala could also study while training on various courts in the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain.
She has found plenty of success in all kinds of courts, having picked up junior doubles titles in the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open, along with a junior singles title at the 2022 US Open. Eala though says there is one court that feels more natural for her.
"I grew up playing on hard court, that's where I feel most comfortable," she said. "I think I have some pretty good results in other surfaces but I would say hard is my preferred surface."
While there is no particular focus or attention on tennis surfaces, Eala says she has picked up a lot of pointers from the King of Clay himself, Rafael Nadal, whenever he comes to visit the academy.
"He said multiple times to surround yourself with good people... and to learn good habits," she noted.
She worked on those pointers to reach all the way to world number 2 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings back in 2021. But it's been a struggle in the seniors, falling in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open and in the first round of the Thailand Open.
Eala though is not feeling any pressure from her fans and supporters, "[If] the person you support fails and you stop supporting them, then you really weren't a supporter to begin with."