“Insane, whirlwind, dream.”
Christopher Eubanks is living a ‘pinch-me’ moment at Wimbledon. The American booked his ticket to his first major quarter-final Monday when he upset World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 27-year-old is finding out that his breakthrough at The All England Club comes with a few benefits outside of a spot in the last eight and a US$437,410 payday.
“Everything from realising that I have two credentials at Wimbledon for the rest of my life, to checking my phone and seeing my name as an ESPN alert, to realising how much I disliked grass at the beginning of the grass court season, to now look at where I am. There’s so many different ways I could go about it,” Eubanks said in his post-match press conference.
“I just think the entire experience all together has just been a whirlwind. It’s been something that you dream about. But I think for me I didn’t really know if that dream would actually come true. I’m sitting here now, so it’s pretty cool.”
Eubanks’ rapid rise has been one of the stories of the season. He first cracked the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in April, following a quarter-final run at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami and prior to arriving at his Wimbledon main-draw debut, the former Georgia Tech University standout lifted his maiden tour-level title at the Mallorca Championships. He has not slowed down.
Eubanks Stuns Tsitsipas In See-Saw Wimbledon Thriller
Eubanks is riding a nine-match winning streak that hit a new high Monday when he earned the first Top-5 win of his career in a thrilling five-setter against Tsitsipas. The Atlanta-native’s deep run is even a surprise to himself.
“We’ve had to change hotel checkout dates a couple times, everything else has pretty much stayed the same,” Eubanks said. “Typically when I book hotels, especially at Slams… I’ll typically say, ‘Let’s book until Friday just because the cancellation policies can be tough. We’ll see what happens’. We had that happen. Moved it again to Monday.
“Then I believe yesterday or two days ago, we said, ‘Let’s just move it to next Friday just to see. If we have to move it one more time, we might just move it all the way to the end of the following week. That’s really the only logistical change that’s had to be made.”
At World No. 31 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Eubanks stated that his breakthrough season can partially be credited to more belief in his game. WTA stars Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka, who are close friends with Eubanks, helped inspire that self-confidence within the American.
“For a long time I questioned 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,” Eubanks said. “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 have 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.”
Eubanks will next look to avenge his Miami loss to Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals. But Wednesday’s match can wait for now. Eubanks wants to soak in every second of this dream that has turned into a reality.
“It’s a bit nuts right now. It’s crazy to see my social media feed that I’m just used to kind of going to, seeing it’s a lot of me,” Eubanks said. “I’m like, ‘What is this? This is weird’.
“But I think I’ve been able to find a way to compartmentalise everything, realise this is a pretty big moment, but also saying, ‘This is a tennis match that I need to play in a couple days’. I’m not too worried about it. I think for today I’m going to really, really enjoy this. Just think back on it, realise how surreal it is, how crazy it is.
“When tomorrow comes, it’s going to be another match. It’s going to be me stepping on court.”