Wimbledon: the superb lesson in perseverance of Christopher Eubanks, qualified for the quarter-finals

LONDON | With a big smile on his lips, two thumbs up, Christopher Eubanks celebrated his big victory on Monday at the expense of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. So far, it is therefore not the privileged ones who have had access to the central of the All England Club who have seen one of the most beautiful stories of the fortnight written.

It was rather those who had to fall back on tickets for the smallest court 2 who witnessed the triumph of a player who questioned himself for a long time whether he had the level of play to continue his career, facing the fifth tournament favorite.

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Because two years ago, during the pandemic, the American was ranked outside the top 200. He was then 25 years old. “Look, if I’m still in the 200 next year without it being due to injuries, I’ll do something else with my time,” he told his agent.

Christopher Eubanks and Stefanos Tsitsipas shake hands after their round of 16 match at Wimbledon on Monday.

Photo: AFP

The skinny verbmotor

The anecdote, he told the journalists after his victory in the second round. Eubanks always has a lot to say to media representatives. The American is a verbomotor.

“When he came to Georgia Tech, he was a giant [6 pi 7 po] skinny 154 lbs. We couldn’t make him gain weight because he liked talking better than eating! told to The Team his varsity coach, Kenny Thorne.

It is not for nothing that, alongside his stagnant playing career, Eubanks began to be an analyst for Tennis Channel. A role that he loves, and that he wishes to continue to fulfill.

Unthinkable a few months ago

But that won’t be for this week: On Wednesday, the mighty one-handed backhand server will instead play his first quarter-final in a major tournament against third-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev in London.

This sentence, it seemed unthinkable just a few months ago, when Eubanks scoured the Challenger tournaments, far from the splendor of the All England Club.

The first real big click in his career came at the Miami Masters this year, where, from qualifying, the friendly weakling – if we trust the ATP website, he only took 10 lbs since his college days – reached the quarters, before falling to… Medvedev.

The Atlanta native then cracked the top 100 for the first time in his career. He continued to play on the Challenger circuit, for a bit, before trying his luck at Roland-Garros, where bad luck in the draw saw him fall on Denmark’s Holger Rune, seeded sixth.

Thanks Clijsters!

Then came the grass. This surface he didn’t like. He lost in the second round of the Surbiton Challenger.

Desperate, he sent a text message to a former world number 1, the Belgian Kim Clijsters, which he published after winning the first ATP title of his career… a few days later, on the grass of Mallorca.

“Hi Kim, grass is the dumbest surface to play tennis on!” was it written. Clijsters replied with several tips.

Remarks which, obviously, have borne fruit, and which could earn the champion a commission, “if she asks for it”, launched the sympathetic American.

“Dreams come true”

And what will he remember from this unexpected fortnight in London, the new member of the top 40 (at least), when it ends?

“That I love grass,” he replied.

But also, “that dreams come true”.

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