Misc Tennis

Chris Eubanks is back at the site of his big breakthrough

Chris Eubanks is back at the site of his big breakthrough

CHRIS EUBANKS WASN’T feeling optimistic about the state of his game when the grass season began in 2023.

He found himself unable to escape his negative thoughts about the surface, from his movement to the slower speed of the ball. After losing in the second round at the Surbiton Challenger event in June, he reached out in near-desperation to Kim Clijsters, the four-time major champion and former world No. 1, for guidance or tips or anything that could help him get through the following weeks.

Clijsters responded with some encouraging words and advised him to work on his footwork. Eubanks took her words to heart. Not only did he see notable improvements, but he also found his mentality about the grass changing. Understanding his limitations, he focused on the aspects of his game that translated on the surface, including his big serve and aggressive net play.

“I just kind of had to flip my mindset a little bit and then the movement naturally began to get a bit better because I felt like I didn’t harp on it nearly as much,” Eubanks told ESPN last month. “I just kind of focused on the things that I did do well on the surface, and then I allowed the rest to take care of itself.”

Just weeks later, Eubanks won the first ATP title of his career at Mallorca, cracking the top 50 for the first time. He arrived at Wimbledon the following day brimming with confidence and rode his newfound momentum all the way to the quarterfinals, including recording upset wins over Cameron Norrie and Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was his best-ever result at a major and his heroics made him a fan favorite. His ranking surged to a career high of No. 29 soon after, and it proved to him exactly what he was capable of.

One year later, the 28-year-old Eubanks returns to Wimbledon looking to get his season back on track after what has been a challenging stretch. After failing to win a match on clay, Eubanks has had some success already on grass — he reached the quarterfinals at Halle — but fell in the opening match of his defense mission at Mallorca last week. Still, Wimbledon has been a bright spot on his upcoming calendar throughout most of the spring. He will open his 2024 campaign at the All England Club on Tuesday against qualifier Quentin…

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