What a rollercoaster sport can be sometimes. In the first set of his Wimbledon quarterfinal against Daniil Medvedev, little hope existed for Chris Eubanks to overcome the world’s No. 3-ranked player. Eubanks’ serve and volley game were on point, but while Medvedev was serving, the American upstart looked lost. All of the 27-year-old’s promise was displayed in the second set, with Eubanks nearly sweeping six games. It was more of Eubanks’ dominant ways in the third. The fourth set was the critical one in London as Medvedev’s Grand Slam experience proved to be the difference in why Eubanks’ meteoric rise didn’t advance to the final four. And in the fifth, we found ourselves right back where we started with Medvedev looking dominant and Eubanks unsuccessfully searching for any form of momentum.
The loss has gotta sting. Despite the career advancement and notoriety, a run to a Grand Slam quarterfinal will bring, being within striking distance of taking down the third-best player in the world and a semifinal showdown against Carlos Alcaraz is beyond tantalizing. It’s mixed with one point in Wednesday’s match, about 40 minutes before the match’s conclusion, Eubanks was four points away from victory, tied with Medvedev in the fourth-set tiebreak. Medvedev won the next three points of the tiebreak and pushed the match to a winner-take-all fifth set on Eubanks’ unforced error, which became an unsettling theme for the former Georgia Tech star. As the pain goes away slightly and Eubanks moves on to his next tournament, what he accomplished in England will come to light. His life has changed.
Eubanks was the third African American male to make the men’s singles quarterfinal at Wimbledon, and the first since 1996, when MaliVai Washington had his lone run to a Grand Slam final. The other? Arthur Ashe. Eubanks hadn’t made it past the second round of a Grand Slam before Wimbledon and hadn’t defeated a top-10 player, and did so with his takedown of No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round. Eubanks has shot up the ATP’s rankings, including his last move up 34 spots to No. 43 in the world, by far the highest jump in the organization’s last poll. Those are all huge accomplishments even if Eubanks feels like he left something on the table this time around, mainly with his unforced errors front of mind.
Tiebreaks had been where Eubanks thrived in the tournament thus far, winning all five he faced before the matchup with Medvedev. That included his third-round, straight-set win over Christopher O’Connell, where all three sets were won 7-6. Eliminating the unforced errors will give Eubanks a better chance to advance at the next Grand Slam, the US Open. Who is the main court at New York City’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center named after? Tennis fans will know the answer easily, Ashe.
After his four wins at Wimbledon, Eubanks is now the sixth-highest-ranked American on the ATP Tour and should have a much more favorable draw for the US Open, than the one he overcame at Wimbledon. He’ll have every opportunity to replicate the success of his foray into the limelight. Only this time, Eubanks won’t be considered a Cinderella until the deeper rounds of the tournament because of how much he accomplished at Wimbledon.