First-Time Winner Spotlight: Christopher Eubanks
Following his triumph, the American is set to debut inside the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings at No. 43 entering Wimbledon. The 27-year-old caught up with ATPTour.com to reflect on being crowned champion at the ATP 250 grass-court event.
What does this mean to you to win your first title?
It means everything. It means that a lot of the hard work that I've been doing, and the persistence that I've tried to have throughout the ups and downs of my career, it's all worth it. It's all worth it for this moment right here, to be standing here as a champion of an ATP event. It means the world and it's something really special.
If someone said to you at the start of the season that you would win your first title this year, would you have picked grass as a surface you would do it on?
Absolutely not. My grass-court season got off to a bit of a rough start at the Surbiton Challenger, I lost in the second round. I began to question whether or not I could be good on the surface. I didn't think that I could.
But my coach, Ruan Roelofse, and I, we put in a lot of work on the grass to try and understand the footing and the shots and everything that I would need to have in order to be successful. And it all paid off this week.
Take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and career who have helped you reach this milestone.
There's so many of them. I have to start with my family, my family has been behind me. My mom [Carla], my dad [Mark], my older brother [Mark]. Donald Young and his family were so, so influential in my career. He allowed me to travel with him as a practice partner from the time I was 15 years old. So I got to see professional tennis up close and then the more you see it, the more you actually believe that you can do it.
Jarmere Jenkins and his family. He is like a big brother to me, continues to mentor me consistently. Coco Gauff and her family are like a second family, that's like my little sister, so I'm probably willing to bet I have a text message or something from her. My college coaches Kenny Thorne, Kevin King, and Derek Schwandt, they really pushed me.
Somebody that I really want to shout-out is Kim Clijsters, because after my first week on grass, I sent Kim a text and I said, ‘Grass is the stupidest surface to play tennis on, I don't know why we're playing on a court that’s so uneven, I can't have my footing!’ And Kim sent me a really positive message back, just telling me areas that she struggled on the grass and things to work on to feel more and more comfortable on it. So I have to give her a huge, huge shout-out. I'm looking forward to giving her a call.
You started the year outside the Top 120, now you have cracked the Top 50. Did you think this was possible? What does it mean to be a Top 50 player?
I thought it was possible, I didn't know if I would do it. I didn't know if I could be consistent enough to really put together four, five matches multiple times. I was able to do it in Miami, I was able to do it here. So I think it was more so a consistency question for myself, not necessarily if I have the game to do it. And I was able to do it. I think I kind of proved something to myself and now it’s added motivation to continue working harder.
How much confidence and self belief did your quarter-final run in Miami give you?
I think it gave me a lot. It was the first time in which I've put together that many matches against those quality of opponents. So after Miami, I had to sit back and look and say, ‘You know what? Maybe I can be consistent, I'm not just one hot match, one cold match, maybe I can put things together.’ I think that was a huge, huge, huge part of my success this week, just believing that I could do it.
How excited are you for your Wimbledon main-draw debut, especially coming to the event with top form?
Really, really excited. Never played Wimbledon main draw. So that's going to be something new altogether. I'm looking forward to getting there. I have a practice set tomorrow at Aorangi [Park]. I'm really excited to hop on the plane, get to London, and get on the Wimbledon grounds. It's going to be such an honour.
How did you start playing tennis? What are some of your early memories playing the sport?
I have an older brother who was already involved in tennis when I was born. So when I came along, my dad was working with my older brother. And then I started out at the age where I could run and walk, it was just easy to bring me out of the house to go with them to the tennis courts. And then when I could run and I was athletic enough to kind of stay on my feet, my dad put a tennis racquet in my hand. So it kind of started with my dad and my older brother.
What do you consider to be your biggest passion outside of tennis?
Probably broadcasting. I really, really enjoy doing commentary for Tennis Channel. I've been able to do it a few times. And it's something that sparked my interest back in 2021, when I got to see some of my friends, who unfortunately were out with injuries, start to do broadcasts and I said, ‘That looks like it could be a lot of fun, maybe I should give it a try!’
I think my first time was last year during the clay-court season. I had a chance to do it and I said ‘Man, this is a lot of fun.’ It's fun to be able to watch tennis, talk tennis, something I do in my free time anyway. So might as well go ahead and do it a little bit more formally.
How will it feel to be playing in your home city of Atlanta later this month when you're introduced as an ATP Tour champion?
It's going to be incredible, I've had so many memories at that tournament. Some of my best memories throughout my career have come at that tournament, so it's going to be really fun stepping foot on the court and hearing them say, ‘ATP Tour champion’.