Alex Eala got a financial boost in her young tennis career after receiving a $25,000 (P1.2 million) grant from the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) junior grant program of 2021.
This year, the initiative benefitted 15 junior players including Eala, as it enables eligible players to receive up to $25,000 per season to assist with their training and competition costs.
“It’s a huge, huge help,” Eala said in an interview with itftennis.com. “It’s really a big help for me, and I’m sure for the other players as well.”
“For players who are supporting themselves, tennis is not a cheap sport. It’s hard to travel everywhere; you have to find those opportunities. The [grants] really help players venture out and find the right paths for them.”
Eala is currently No. 3 in the ITF junior rankings. Last year, she captured the Australian Open Girls Doubles title with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho and had a semifinal finish at the French Open Girls Singles.
The 15-year-old PH bet has been seeing action in the pro circuit since last year, bagging her first pro title last month at the ITF W15 Manacor event in Spain.
She also had two quarterfinal finishes in the second and third legs of that W15 Manacor event, propelling her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranking from 1190 to 942 a week ago.
So far, she has competed in eight pro tournaments.
Eala hopes to see action in more pro events to improve her play, and is actually set to take part at the $25,000 tournament in Grenoble, France this week as a junior reserve.
“I really hope to focus more on my professional career, on the women’s [circuit] tournaments, and just get as far as I can,” Eala said.
“I take it step-by-step. I’m still very new to the women’s tour and don’t really know what to expect from there, but I think that’s part of the journey – that it never stops surprising you.”