By Jean Malanum

Filipino Alex Eala (File photo) 

MANILA – Top Filipina netter Alexandra Eala is among the recipients of USD25,000 grants from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Grand Slam Player Development Program for the 2024 season.

“The grant I have received from the ITF Development Fund has definitely furthered my progress in tennis,” Eala told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday.

“Tennis is a financially demanding sport, which is why I’m so grateful for their continued support. ITF’s help as far back as allowing me to be part of the junior touring team has given me numerous memorable experiences and lessons that help me improve as a tennis professional,” she added.

This is the third consecutive year she was chosen for the grant.

The 18-year-old ranked No. 184 in the world is currently competing at the W50 Indore event in India. She made it to the quarterfinal round after beating Russian Ekaterina Yashina, 7-6 (1), 6-7 (4), 6-0.

Last week, Eala won her first WTA doubles title with Latvian Darja Semenistaja at the W50 event in Pune.

Also chosen to get USD25,000 grants as contribution towards competition-related costs are Duje Ajdukovic and Petra Marcinko of Croatia; Bu Yunchaokete, Yi Zhou, Zhuoxuan Bai and Shang Juncheng of China; Manas Dhamne of India; Yu-Chen Lin of Chinese Taipei; Victoria Luiza Barros of Brazil; Teodora Kostovic, Hamad Medjedovic, Lola Radivojevic and Luna Vujovic of Serbia; Reda Bennani of Morocco; Thijs Boogaard and Mees Rottgering of The Netherlands; Mika Buchnik of Israel; Maia Ilinca Burcescu and Giulia Safina Popa of Romania; Mariano Navone, Thiago Agustin Tirante, Solana Sierra and Luna Maria Cinalli of Argentina; Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria; Hanne Estrada and Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico; Vilius Gaubas of Lithuania; Kalin Ivanovski of Macedonia; Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra; Sofia Kryvoruchko and Daria Snigur of Ukraine; Mark Lajal of Estonia; Filip Misolic and Joel Schwaerzler of Austria; Gloriana Nahum of Benin; Juan Carlos Prado Angelo, Elizara Yaneva and Ivan Invanov of Bolivia; and Henrique Rocha of Portugal.

Meanwhile, those who will get USD12,500 grants are Corban Crowther, Aishi Das, Monique Barry and Kai Milburn of New Zealand; Blaise Bicknell of Jamaica; Eliakim Coulibaly of Côte d’Ivoire; Isabella Kruger of South Africa; Maria Fernanda Martinez Hernandez of Mexico; and Veronika Podrez of Ukraine.

Promising young players Maaya Rajeshwaran Revathi of India and Dino Prizmic of Croatia were also chosen to receive USD50,000.

Eala, Jimenez Kasintseva and Marcinko bagged junior Grand Slam titles while Medjedovic won the 2023 NextGen ATP Finals.

Together with the ITF, the Grand Slam Player Development Program (formerly known as the Grand Slam Development Fund) was established in 1986 to encourage and foster competitive opportunities for players from developing tennis nations and regions.

Through the delivery of Grand Slam Player Grants, the program seeks to increase competitive pathways for players, ensuring they can gain experience at an international level, including at the Grand Slams.

The Grand Slam Player Development Program has contributed more than USD60 million to strengthen and grow player development. The program was formed in 2017 and since then a number of grant recipients have gone on to reach the top of the game. (PNA)