Christopher Eubanks: The 6ft 7in ‘giraffe’ taking BIG strides at Wimbledon (despite hating grass)

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The son of a baptist minister who won the hearts of the nation was he progressed to Wimbledon’s quarter final, Christopher Eubanks took a job in TV last year thinking it was the closest he would get to tennis’ biggest occasions.

The 27-year-old, who cried tears of joy when he broke into the world top 100 earlier this year, has taken down fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Britain’s Cameron Norrie on his march to the quarter finals.

His colleagues from the Tennis Channel have been cheering him on from the sidelines as he advances from upset to upset as he climbs up the historic competition.

Greeting him as ‘our guy!’ yesterday, he admitted to the presenters: ‘It’s a bit of a whirlwind.’

He had originally taken the commentating job 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.

But alongside his presenting work he has also taken on roles portraying American tennis hero and human rights activist Arthur Ashe in two different documentaries – one last year and the other in 2018.

Christopher Eubanks has taken down fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Britain's Cameron Norrie on his march to the quarter finals

Christopher Eubanks has taken down fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Britain’s Cameron Norrie on his march to the quarter finals

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The 27-year-old took a job in TV last year thinking it was the closest he would get to tennis' biggest occasions

The 27-year-old took a job in TV last year thinking it was the closest he would get to tennis’ biggest occasions

Eubanks's father put a racket in his son¿s hands not long after he learned to walk

Eubanks’s father put a racket in his son’s hands not long after he learned to walk

CNN Documentary Citizen Ashe – which also starred Billie Jean King and John McEnroe – explored the star’s tennis career and HIV activism.

It was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary, winning a Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards gong for Best Sports Documentary and a Grierson Award in the same category.

In 2018, The Ashe ’68 VR Experience debuted at the 2018 US Open before premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. 

The multi-component project celebrated the 50th anniversary of his history championship victory. 

Ashe – who won Wimbledon himself in 1975 – counts alongside Eubank as one of the only three African American men to reach the historic event’s final eight.

After saying he hated playing on the lawns a few weeks ago, Eubanks said: ‘Those words will never come out of my mouth for the rest of my career.

‘Grass and I had a strenuous relationship over the years. Right now I think it’s my best friend!’

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The ace is now sitting just outside the top 40 seeded players in the world.

Eubanks’s father 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.

But as a baptist minister, the tennis star may be left disappointed as his father could miss his biggest day if he gets into the final – because it is on a Sunday.

But – teased as a ‘daddy long legs’, a ‘giraffe’ and a ‘toothpick’ by his fellow stars in a Dallas event earlier this year – he will be sure of no shortage of fans cheering his name if he manages to make history this weekend.

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. 

Millions across the pond, many in SW19 and beyond, will be hoping charismatic Eubanks will thrill again as he takes to Court No 1 this afternoon. Pictured: On the practice courts this morning

Millions across the pond, many in SW19 and beyond, will be hoping charismatic Eubanks will thrill again as he takes to Court No 1 this afternoon. Pictured: On the practice courts this morning

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Eubank's forehand is huge when firing and he has hit 247 winners this tournament, the most at this stage since 1992

Eubank’s forehand is huge when firing and he has hit 247 winners this tournament, the most at this stage since 1992

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. 

The 360 ranking points — 760 if he wins on Wednesday — will see Eubanks climb to just outside the top 30 on Monday. 

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. 

Millions across the pond, many in SW19 and beyond, will be hoping charismatic Eubanks will thrill again as he takes to Court No 1 this afternoon.

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