By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
NOW five years in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, Filipino-Australian Lizette Cabrera said she is happy with the way things are panning out in her career and looks to sustain her ascent in the sport.
Ms. Cabrera, 23, born in Australia to full-blooded Filipinos, has steadily climbed the rankings since joining the main draw in 2017, now inside the top 150 in the world.
It is something she positively takes cue from and uses as further motivation to keep improving moving forward.
“Yeah, I’m definitely happy where I am at. Obviously, I just want to keep on improving and keep getting better and reaching for the marks I have set for myself,” said Ms. Cabrera in a Zoom media availability with Filipino sportswriters on Monday.
“I have been healthy, playing on schedule and traveling around the world to compete. It is just awesome. I’m happy with my progress,” she added.
Ms. Cabrera recently competed at the Australian Open singles event where she faced world number three Simona Halep of Romania in the opening round.
She, too, played in the tournament’s doubles event, partnering with Maddison Inglis of Australia. Their tandem was able to reach the quarterfinals.
The tennis star was grateful for the opportunity to continue to test her skills and showcase what she can do as a player.
Ms. Cabrera said she is expecting 2021 to be a busy year for her and is determined to make full use of it with the end view, among other things, to crack the top 100 in the world rankings.
PROUD TO BE FILIPINO
While she is representing Australia, Ms. Cabrera shared that she is very proud of her Filipino heritage as instilled to her by father Ronnie (from Pampanga) and mother Maria (from Basilan).
“I am Filipino, but I was born in Australia. But every time I get the chance to talk about my heritage whether in my interviews and on social media, I do, I am very proud to be a Filipino,” said Ms. Cabrera, who visited the country once before to compete in a juniors tournament.
“Hopefully, I get to return there (Philippines) sometime this year. I would love to kind of go back and meet my other family, and just see what I can do and help out. I want to go see people in less fortunate places and help kids pick up a tennis racket, kind of inspire them in any way I can,” added the rising tennis start, who is a member of the Project 6 Foundation, an independent Australian not-for-profit organization that supports the development and growth of underprivileged children and youth across Southeast Asia.
She, too, recently partnered with Century Pacific Food, Inc. to be its brand ambassador and is looking forward to engaging with Filipino fans through the partnership and making them proud.
RALLYING BEHIND EALA
Ms. Cabrera also took time to share how happy she is of the progress of Filipino tennis upstart Alex Eala, who is now at 763 in the WTA and showing much potential despite just being 15 years old.
“I have been following her progress, I think she’s an amazing young player. She’s only going to get better when she plays more and more matches on the tour,” she said.
Adding, “Being able to train at Rafa Nadal’s academy, I’m sure she’s getting amazing help there. She’s already ranked 700 and she’s only 15. She can only really go up from here.”
Ms. Cabrera went on to say that hopefully down the line, she and Ms. Eala get to play together and give focus on Philippine tennis.