When this year’s edition of The Championships began on July 3, Christopher Eubanks was one of the 13 American men in the singles main draw. In the presence of players like Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, not much was expected from 27-year-old Eubanks, even though he had won his maiden ATP title on grass in Mallorca the week prior to the Slam.
As it turns out, Eubanks is the last American man left in the draw but only after his stunning victories over British No. 1 Cameron Norrie and fifth-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas on the way to the last-eight stage.
Here’s all you need to know about the rising star from the US:
The Eubanks family
Christopher, the son of Mark and Carla, hails from Atlanta, in the southeastern US state of Georgia. He has a brother named Mark, who is 13 years older. Mark Sr. introduced his elder son to tennis while Christopher sat and watched. Mark even managed to get a college scholarship but did not have the passion for the spot.
However, it was a different case when it came to Christopher. “I don’t know how old [Chris] was, but he started walking. And then he started running. And we would take him out to the court and he wouldn’t sit long enough. So I just put a racquet in his hand. It was around age two, I think, that I put a racquet in his hand and I noticed he had good eye-hand coordination and then we just built from there, “ Mark Sr. told the atptour.com in an interview.
Mark Sr., who has also been in the pastoral ministry for more than three decades, never played the sport professionally, but learnt the technicalities while playing with colleagues from the airline he worked for. He taught young Christopher during his initial years, including the use of both his hands for the forehand and backhand shots, since he wanted him to play with a regular-sized racquet. Eventually, he did switch to the single-handed forehand and backhand.
Later on, Eubanks learnt from former Top 50 player Donald Young but did not play a lot of junior events during his teen years.
Eubanks played college tennis from 2015-17 at Georgia Tech, where he was ACC Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He also reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship.
He made his Tour-level debut as a wildcard at the Atlanta Open where he lost in the opening round in 2015. He turned pro two years later and made his Grand Slam debut at the 2017 US Open. However, he had to wait for five years to get his first match win at a Major — when he defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez in the first round at Flushing Meadows in 2022.
The 6’7” tall and wiry Eubanks struggled to breach the Top 100 until his astonishing run at this year’s Miami Open where he came from qualifying round and beat players like Borna Coric and Adrian Mannarino before going down to eventual champion Medvedev in the quarterfinals.
Eubanks and his relationship with grass
Eubanks prefers to play on hard court like most of the American players. However, a conversation with four-time Major winner Kim Clijsters changed his perspective about grass. The two met at Indian Wells during an event and spoke for hours where the American kept asking the Belgian questions.
After his loss at a Challenger event on grass in Surbiton, Eubanks texted Clijsters looking for solutions to his problems on the surface. “Bend your knees and focus on movement. Stop planting your foot to change direction, and take a few extra steps so you wouldn’t slip all over the place,” Clijsters told him.
Two weeks later, Eubanks grabbed his maiden Tour-level title on grass in Mallorca after a run which included saving multiple match points against Lloyd Harris in the semifinals.
After failing multiple times in the qualifying round at Wimbledon previously, the American made his main draw debut this year and since then, has impressed everyone not just with his play but with his demeanour on the court. Eubanks can be seen smiling most of the time.
Off the court
Eubanks has also done commentary for the Tennis Channel. He also acted as Arthur Ashe’s double in the documentary ‘Citizen Ashe’ about the life of the American tennis legend.
For his performance at the grass Major, he has been congratulated by actor Hugh Jackman and Boxer Mike Tyson and on Tuesday, he appeared on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts.