As the weather heats up, and as the relatively quick turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon accelerate interest, tennis begins to garner more attention in what’s left of the sports pages of America. It’s all the more poignant that In a week when one of the most consistent devotees to the sport, the New York Times, disbanded its sports section we saw the ascension to world prominence of an Americn hopeful with the look and talent to potentially become the face of the tour for the more casual American fans.
Unless you were a more ardent fan of the sport, or Georgia Tech’s team, you may not have known about Christopher Eubanks before this Wimbledon fortnight. But we learned exactly why those that did aren’t surprised about how well he performed, better than any other American male did, and nearly advanced further earlier today. As Miles Schachner of the NEW YORK POST reported:
Christopher Eubanks’ miracle run came to a screeching halt.
The 27-year-old American lost in a devastating five-set thriller against world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 1-6 on Wednesday, surrendering a chance to advance to his first career Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.
Eubanks wilted in the fifth set after earning a chance to finish the match in a fourth set tiebreaker.
The 6-foot-7 Atlanta native is making just his ninth major appearance and has won only one title on the ATP Tour.
Previously, his best performance at a Slam was the second round, which came at last year’s U.S. Open and the Australian Open this year.
But as Schachner continued, earlier in this tournament, he made his mark and then some:
Eubanks, whose powerful serve is rated as one of the best on tour, dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday in a five-set thriller, in a match that launched his unlikely Wimbledon run into the mainstream. “I feel like I’m living a dream right now,” Eubanks said in his post-match, on-court interview after the victory over Tsitsipas. “This is absolutely insane.”
Having an American hopeful is crucial to growing interest in a sport whose profile continues to become more and more niche and global. The U.S. Open will be all the more significant this year as more entertainment attention could by necessity be turned to sports stars should celebrities join writers on strike.
Eubanks’ looks and talents make him a natural, and a run in Flushing, especially under the bright lights and prime time windows, could propel him into the kind of stature not seen by an American male in quite a while. Indeed, in England, his run was quite special, again per Schachner:
The last time an American competed in the Wimbledon finals was 2009, when Andy Roddick lost to Roger Federer.
The last time an American won Wimbledon was Pete Sampras in 2000.
Eubanks broke a record for the most winners (321) hit during Wimbledon with his improbable run, surpassing fellow American Andre Agassi’s record with 317.
You may not have known his name before this. But you know it now.
See you in Flushing, Mr. Eubanks.