Christopher Eubanks the 6ft 7in daddy long legs has made a major impact at Wimbledon

new balance

Some of the beacons of American tennis were asked at an event in Dallas earlier this year to give nicknames for Christopher Eubanks. ‘Toothpick,’ said Frances Tiafoe. ‘Don’t get me started on that giraffe,’ added Sloane Stephens, as Madison Keys fell about laughing. ‘We all love daddy long legs.’

Those feelings of adulation are now reciprocated on an international level. Punters at the All England Club are loving his journey and it is easy to see why — not just because Eubanks says he feels like an honorary Brit.

To use Stephens’ phrase, the 6ft 7in ‘giraffe’ is the breakout star of this year’s Championships and earning fans for his humility, honesty and heartwarming back story.

As the only British publication in a small interview room last week, Mail Sport asked Eubanks to talk us through his journey so far. ‘Wow, that feels like an icebreaker,’ he joked, before embarking on a rollercoaster response about his 27 years of trials and tribulations.

Win or lose on Wednesday against Russian world No 3 Daniil Medvedev, it is fair to say the world’s media will flock to the auditorium to catch a soundbite from Eubanks, whose free-talking spirit may be down to his broadcast work for the Tennis Channel.

Chris Eubanks has been the breakout star of this year's Wimbledon with some great displays

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Chris Eubanks has been the breakout star of this year’s Wimbledon with some great displays

The punditry gig was taken up on the side of a career that was stalling, with Eubanks toiling around world No 200 and struggling to move up the rankings whatever he tried.

Those close to the 27-year-old say he has always had the ability but perhaps lacked belief. He credits good friend Coco Gauff, who was in Eubanks’ box as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday, and former world No 1 Naomi Osaka for helping him believe more in his ability.

But he studied many players for the Tennis Channel and that has helped him improve his game.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Eubanks’ father — a baptist minister — put a racket in his son’s hands not long after he learned to walk. Fellow Atlantlan Donald Young, who once reached the top 40 himself, was ‘like a brother’ to Eubanks and tutored him from age 13. Jarmere Jenkins, long-time hitting partner of Serena Williams, also helped Eubanks.

‘I was so lucky to have those people who took me under their wing and showed me what high-level tennis was like, made me believe it was possible,’ he says.

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Like the Williams sisters, Eubanks is one of very few players to not carry a second-serve ball in his pocket, perhaps because he has huge belief in his power. His forehand is huge when firing and he has hit 247 winners this tournament, the most at this stage since 1992.

There are also technical reasons for Eubanks to be delighted. His career earnings are around £1.3million — a lot, but the costs of employing a coaching team and sorting hotels and travel are seismic. He will pocket at least £340,000 for this run — and that would nearly double with victory over Medvedev.

After overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas, Eubanks will now take on world No 3 Daniil Medvedev

After overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas, Eubanks will now take on world No 3 Daniil Medvedev

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The 360 ranking points — 760 if he wins on Wednesday — will see Eubanks climb to just outside the top 30 on Monday. After crying tears of joy when breaking into the top 100 this year, he is now guaranteed entry to the US Open in September and a loud homecoming welcome.

The US is on its longest Grand Slam singles drought in history. The last American major winner was Sofia Kenin in January 2020 and no man has won a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in September 2003.

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But two Americans are still standing here despite Jessica Pegula’s exit on Tuesday, with Eubanks following Keys — who faces world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka — on to Court No 1. Illinois-born Keys, 28, has been to the last four of each major bar Wimbledon and is on a nine-match winning streak that included a title at Eastbourne.

Regardless of Wednesday’s results, the pair will always be welcome now at the All England Club. As part of the Last Eight Club, any quarter-finalist gets Wimbledon passes for life — including a plus one — as well as a luxury hospitality suite, two tickets to a West End show and 6-7pm Happy Hour.

Millions across the pond, many in SW19 and beyond, will be hoping Eubanks and his charismatic compatriot Keys inspire plenty of happy hours on Court No 1 on Wednesday.

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Eubanks took up punditry on the side as his tennis career was stalling but he's now excelling

Eubanks took up punditry on the side as his tennis career was stalling but he’s now excelling

new balance

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