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Chris Eubanks: First African-American Man to Play Wimbledon Quarters in 27 Years

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For someone who wasn’t sure about pursuing professional tennis, Chris Eubanks has done well for himself. In 2022, he worked for the Tennis Channel to support himself. Although he struggled to break into the men’s top 100, Chris joins a list of young black tennis players making waves on tour. Keep reading to learn more about his journey.

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Chris Eubanks’ Early Days

Chris Eubanks: First African-American Man to Play Wimbledon Quarters in 27 Years
Chris Eubanks playing at the 2018 Citi Open Tennis. Source: Wikimedia Commons  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Chris was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with his family. His siblings sparked his interest in tennis, and he didn’t have to look far for a coach. His father readily tutored him until he was 13. 

He developed a friendship with Donald Young, whose parents ran the South Fulton Tennis Center. He got an opportunity to train with Young, who was already a professional tennis player. 

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High School and College Career

The young tennis player represented Westlake High School. They won the regional championship and came second in the state championship. By the end of his time at Westlake, Eubanks amassed a record of 48-6, won the Georgia Close Challenger, and the USTA National Boy’s Team Championships.

His college records are just as impressive. He played for Georgia Tech before he became legible to turn professional. His record saw him receive entry into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Singles Championship. He then received a wildcard to compete in the BB&T Atlanta Open

In his second year, he recorded the highest number of wins of any singles player with a 34-7 record. He was ranked eighth nationally. 

In his junior year, the tennis rookie reached a career-high ranking of four. He returned to the BB&T Atlanta Open, where he won his first two singles matches on the ATP tour.

By this time, Chris Eubanks had accomplished a lot at this level. In 2017, he turned professional instead of going back for his senior career at Georgia Tech.

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Professional Tennis Career

At the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open, Eubanks reached the quarterfinals to mark his debut. This earned him a wildcard entry to the US Open but he was eliminated in the first round. This pattern repeated itself at the 2019 Australian Open.

His first major win in a grand slam came at the 2022 US Open, defeating Pedro Martinez in a qualifying match. This was followed by another major win at the 2023 Australian Open, which raised his ranking to 102. 

Chris Eubanks seemed to have gotten a new lease of life from these victories. In the subsequent tournaments, he won his three consecutive ATP matches for the first time at the 2023 Miami Open and reached the fourth round of a masters-level tournament for the first time. This marked his debut in the top 100.  

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Memorable Wimbledon Debut

From there, the American won his first ATP tour final at the 2023 Mallorca Championship to catapult his ranking to 43. He then made his Wimbledon Championship debut and reached the quarterfinals, the furthest he’s gotten in his career. He defeated big names:

Eubanks was the first African-American to play in a Wimbledon quarter-final for the first time since MaliVai Washington in 1966. His rose to number 29 in ranking points. 

Reflecting on his progression, Chris Eubanks told Olympics.com that playing professional tennis wasn’t his life goal. That said, he took it seriously when he became a junior player. Even then, he never thought he could play consistently at the highest level and challenge the big names.  

Whether Chris Eubanks will be able to replicate these results for the rest of the season and in the coming years is something we can only wait and see. Nonetheless, America’s crop of young black tennis players gives fans something to look forward to.  

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