Australian tennis player Ajla Tomljanovic started the year strong with appearances at the United Cup and Australian Open. Less than three weeks after losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the second round of the Australian Open, Tomljanovic is sidelined as she recovers from an unexpected surgical procedure.
Tomljanovic shared a photo of herself in the hospital and assured fans she would be back, but she needs to heal from surgery to remove uterine fibroids. The benign fibroids caused her lower back pain. It is not clear when she plans to return but hopefully for the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami in March.
Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng is showing off her creative side. She enjoys painting and admits that art helps her to relax and decompress off the court. Zheng's piece looked good and had specific meaning to her, but she admits she is better at tennis.
While Tomljanovic and Zheng are decompressing, Filipina player Alex Eala is firing up her nation's fans.
Boxer Manny Pacquaio used to be called the "Pride of the Philippines." Now that he is retired, 18-year-old Filipina player Alex Eala may take over the moniker.
Eala's fired-up Filipino fans were behind her in her first-round match at the Abu Dhabi Open. Though Eala lost, the country remains in her corner. They are waiting for her breakout moment and for her to put the Philippines on the tennis map. She has been a tennis prodigy for years and a graduate of the Rafael Nadal Academy.
Women's tennis is loaded with talent, and the left-handed Eala is honing her game. She is currently ranked 187th in the world. Eala won the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 French Open junior doubles titles, and the 2022 US Open junior singles title.