MANILA, Sept 12 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday congratulated junior tennis sensation Alexandra “Alex” Eala for being the first Filipino to win a tennis Grand Slam singles title.

Eala, 17, bagged the US Open junior girls’ title following a 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova of Czech Republic at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York early Sunday morning (PH time).

She took the title as the No. 10 seed and without dropping a set.

“It is with an immense sense of pride and joy that I congratulate Alex Eala on her historic win at the US Open Junior Girls’ Singles Championship. Another Filipina has raised our flag, and made our nation proud,” Marcos posted on his official Facebook page.

“To Alex, thank you, for the honor you brought us, and we, your kababayans (countrymen), wish you all the best in your journey up ahead,” he added.

In a separate Facebook post, the Office of the Press Secretary also sent Eala praises.

“Mainit na pagbati kay Alex Eala, ang kauna-unahang Pilipino na nagkamit ng titulo sa Junior Grand Slam Singles ng 2022 US Open Championship (Warmest congratulations to Alex Eala, the first-ever Filipino to win a title in the Junior Grand Slam Singles of the 2022 US Open Championship),” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

She underscored the importance of having athletic training programs that hone skills and talents.

Eala has been a scholar of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain under coach Adrien Alexis Vaseux for the past four years.

Cruz-Angeles assured that the Marcos administration will implement policies to improve the Philippine Sports Commission(PSC), whose newly appointed chair, Noli Eala, is the tennis player’s uncle.

“Kaya naman sa ilalim ng administrasyon ng ating Pangulong Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., may mga plano at hakbang na ang PSC sa pagpapabuti ng mga polisiya bilang tugon dito (Under the administration of President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, the PSC will carry out plans and steps to improve policies to address this),” she added.

Eala now has three junior Grand Slam titles, including doubles titles in the 2021 French Open with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva and the 2020 Australian Open with Indonesian Priska Madelyn Nugroho.

In New York, she delivered her victory speech on Court No. 11 in Filipino.

“Buong puso ko itong ipinaglaban hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine tennis. So hindi lang ‘to panalo ko. Panalo natin lahat (I poured it all out not just for myself but also because I want to help improve the future of Philippines tennis. This is not just my victory. This is our victory),” she said while trying to hold back tears.

At the post-match interview, she described her victory as overwhelming.

“I think this is a huge step for me personally, as well. I’m super happy to represent my country and do something with a big platform, being able to inspire other younger people,” she said.

Eala reached a career-high juniors ranking of No. 2 in October 2020 following a semifinal appearance at the French Open girls’ singles in Paris.

She is expected to improve on her current No. 167 juniors ranking when points are updated on Monday. (MNS)