“There’s no greater example for the kids than Rafael Nadal; after he plays, he sweeps the court" – US Open junior champion Alex Eala's father Mike

Rafael Nadal v Alejandro Talibo - Copa Museo de la Moda
Rafael Nadal at the Copa Museo de la Moda

With his spectacular tennis skills on the court and humble attitude off it, Rafael Nadal has long been a role model for aspiring tennis players. The latest to attest to that is the Mike Eala, the father of reigning US Open girls' singles champion Alex Eala.

Alex created history earlier this year by becoming the first Filipino to win a junior Grand Slam singles title. She has been honing her skills at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain, since the age of 12.

In the most recent issue of Vogue Philippines, the 17-year-old's father, Mike opened up about her life and training at Nadal's academy.

Alex Eala trains ahead of the 2021 Miami Open
Alex Eala trains ahead of the 2021 Miami Open

Mike remarked during the interview that there's no greater example for young kids than Rafael Nadal. He went on to reveal that the former World No. 1 even makes sure to sweep the courts after every practice session.

Explaining how the academy puts emphasis on ensuring that kids inculcate good values, Mike said:

“I think there’s no greater example of the kids than Rafa. After he plays, he’ll sweep the court."

Although the young Alex Eala doesn't often get to see the 14-time French Open champion at his academy, Nadal does keep track of the talented kids. When Alex Eala won a tournament in Spain, the tennis legend congratulated her in person.

Alex was also one of the eight players who participated in the Amazon Prime mini-series, 'Rafa Nadal Academy', that showcased life at the academy.

The Filipino southpaw is one of the most promising stars to come out of the Rafa Nadal Academy in recent times. In a stellar junior career, she has already won the US Open girls' singles (2022) trophy as well as the girls doubles titles at the Australian Open (2020) and the French Open (2021).

When she was just 12, Alex won the 2018 Les Petit As 14-and-under tournament. She has also collected a couple of ITF circuit titles, which have catapulted her to her current ranking of 219.

Rafael Nadal beats Alejandro Tabilo in Chile exhibition match

Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after his match against Alejandro Tabilo at Copa Museo de la Moda
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after his match against Alejandro Tabilo at Copa Museo de la Moda

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is currently in the middle of his South American exhibition tour. In the Santiago leg of the tour on Friday, the southpaw defeated World No. 86 Alejandro Tabilo 7-6(6), 6-3.

More than 13,000 people gathered at the San Carlos de Apoquindo stadium to catch a glimpse of the popular Spaniard. Nadal was mobbed by the crowd on the completion of the match, and the 22-time Major winner even stopped for a few autographs.

Nadal returned to Santiago after beating World No. 3 Casper Ruud in Buenos Aires. Ruud will next join him in Belo Horizonte, Quito, Bogota, and Mexico City for the next legs of the tour.

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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