Alex Eala is the first Filipino to win a Singles Grand Slam, and she seized that opportunity for our native language to be heard in the international stage.
The 17-year-old Pinay netter spoke full Tagalog in her acceptance speech during the 2022 US Open Juniors awarding ceremonies.
"Unang-una, gusto ko lang magpasalamat sa pamilya ko, kasi kung hindi para sa kanila, hindi ko talaga 'to kakayanin," she began her speech, airing her gratitude to her most solid support system, her family.
Then she dedicated the feat to her home country.
"Buong puso ko tong pinaglaban, hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine tennis. Hindi lang to panalo ko, kundi panalo nating lahat. Thank you."
Alex Eala makes Philippine sports history
Eala, a three-time Grand Slam champ, is fluent in Tagalog, and did not miss a beat in her speech. Born and raised in the Philippines, Eala only moved abroad when she was offered a scholarship at the Rafa Nadal Academy at 13 years old.
Her parents are Rizza Maniego-Eala, a former national swimmer, and Michael Francis Eala. She is the niece of now-Philippine Sports Commission chair Noli Eala.
Earlier this Sunday, Eala defeated Juniors World No. 3 Lucie Havlickova, 6-2, 6-4, in the US Open Girls Final round to clinch the title.
This adds to her Grand Slam list of two girls doubles championships, from the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open.