Chris Eubanks Punching Hard

Jul 13, 2023, 9:39:03 AM | by Craig Gabriel

Chris Eubanks Punching Hard
American Chris Eubanks was one of the stories of this Wimbledon. His performances captured interest and he won a legion of new fans, Craig Gabriel writes that the 27-year-old was blown away with his experiences on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

 

Any tennis player with stars in their eyes dream of the day they will get the chance to play on one of the great and most important tennis courts in the world. For probably 99% the dream does not become reality but the rare few it happens and after years of trying to make a mark, they become an overnight sensation.

At the age of 27, American Chris Eubanks is one of those players and this year he is pinching himself, especially since the Miami Open in March and most definitely with Wimbledon where he reached the quarterfinals and took Daniil Medvedev to five sets.

Eubanks is tall, very tall, 201cm tall, and he is skinny, maybe lanky is a better word, and you can’t see much muscle on him. He is totally different to someone like Matteo Berrettini who, when you see him can figure this guy is going to be able to hit the cover of the ball. With his height Eubanks’ serve is a force to be reckoned with, especially on grass. It’s like the ball is being hit from treetops. By the way, he is the fourth tallest man after Ivo Karlovic, John Isner and Kevin Anderson to make the quarters at Wimbledon.

It’s taken time for Chris Eubanks to get to where he is now. Exactly a year ago he was ranked 163 and he came into Wimbledon 2023 ranked 43. Only four months before during Miami where he was defeated by Medvedev, the eventual winner, he was at 119. After Wimbledon he should be knocking on the top 30 door.

“Sometimes when I am on court you got to take a step back and think I’ve planned a while to be here,” Eubanks said. “This is pretty cool; even in tough moments in a match it’s really understanding where you are and what it’s taken to get to this point.”

 

Eubanks had tried to qualify at Wimbledon several times and was not able to make the drive from Roehampton where the qualifying rounds are played to the big stage, Church Road, Wimbledon, SW19 5AE. He was left wondering what it was like over at the All England Club. It was almost like in a motion picture where the camera closes in on the sad face of an underprivileged child looking through the gates of a mansion wondering what it was like beyond those gates.

Chris Eubanks entered those gates, and it was everything he hoped it would be and then some.

“I’ve been out here playing really, really, really well; pretty big break through in my career here and I’m looking forward to more,” Eubanks said. “Not many players get the chance to play at Wimbledon on a court like (Court No.1). The atmosphere was electric. Everything, when I think back on it, is really, really, really special.

“I just feel there’s a weight off my shoulders with some of the success I’ve had this year. Since Miami, things have kind of been rolling and producing really, really high levels. At this point it’s not so much about expectation but of me going out and having fun and just knowing I really don’t have anything to lose.”

Certainly, every tennis player loves the opportunity to play top ten opponents on a big show court in the latter stages of a major and they will say that’s why they play the game. Eubanks has had that chance and is able to go on court, play the best way he can, have fun and see what happens. But before the opportunities came to fruition, he questioned his self-belief.

In particular two players younger than him made him realise this is his domain just as much as anyone else’s and that he did belong.

 

“I spent years and years around Donald Young, which I think played a huge impact on me and my success. Even now being as close to Coco (Gauff) as I am. Being good friends with Naomi (Osaka). I'm around enough tennis players to be able to pick their brain, hear the way that they look at certain things,” Eubanks said.

“That has had a bigger impact on how I look at sport and how I look at tennis and my career. I think the biggest thing, it's a common theme amongst both of them, they've been saying for a long time that they feel like I belong at this level. For a long time I questioned, again, whether or not I was consistent enough to play at this level really consistently.

“I knew I could come out on any match and maybe light it up, could cause some guys some trouble. I don't know if I really believed I could put it together match after match after match against quality opponents. That's something Coco has been telling me for a long time. Naomi even says the same thing. 

“That's kind of been the main thing of just reinforcing and instilling confidence. Hey, you can play at this level, you just got to believe it. When I'm around them, to hear them talk about their belief, it's a bit infectious. It does rub off on you.

“When they talk about their goals or what they feel when they go on court, I feel a little bit like the odd man out because I'm like, You guys are mentally different than I am. You guys are so much more, like, locked in and confident when you step on the court.

“I think it's slowly starting to rub off on me where when I step foot on the court, hey, I can play at this level, I belong at this level. I just have to go out there and actually believe it. Be okay with giving it everything I have. Whatever the result is it is.”

He has certainly highlighted that.