10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Christopher Eubanks Stuns No. 12 Cameron Norrie at Wimbledon

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Christopher Eubanks of United States plays a forehand against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the Men’s Singles second round match during day five of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 07, 2023 in London, England. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Surround sound came to No. 1 Court as cheering British fans exhorted Cameron Norrie.

Amping up his drives, Christopher Eubanks muted the crowd noise and knocked Norrie out of Wimbledon

An inspired Eubanks toppled 12th-seeded Norrie 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) in a masterful performance to charge into the Wimbledon third round for the first time.

The Wimbledon debutant who arrived at SW19 with an ignominious 2-8 career Grand Slam record rose to the challenge slamming 21 aces and tripling Norrie’s winner output firing 63 winners—43 more than the British favorite.

Weeks after Eubanks fought off five match points out-dueling Lloyd Harris 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9) in the Mallorca semifinals before sweeping Adrian Mannarino to capture his maiden ATP title at the Mallorca Championships, he competed with conviction.

Facing both the 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist and British No. 1 Norrie and a vocal British crowd, the 6’7” American nicknamed “Big Banks” did not flinch posting the biggest win of his career.

“By far the biggest win of my career—by far,” a smiling Eubanks told Annabel Croft in his on-court interview. “Not even a question.

“Tons of really good tennis players who play professional tennis who never get the chance to play the number one Brit at Wimbledon in at atmosphere like this.

“It didn’t even matter how many people were for me or against me this is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”

A two-time all-American at Georgia Tech, the 27-year-old Eubanks played college tennis the same time Norrie was earning all American honors at TCU. Perhaps their shared college success—combined with the confidence that comes from his first ATP crown—fueled Eubanks today.

Ultimately, Eubanks’ skill playing first-strike tennis at crunch time was key to this victory. Eubanks played more proactive tennis winning 25 of 39 trips to net and facing just two break points in two hours, 30 minutes.

Norrie, who was coming off the Queen’s Club quarterfinals, struggled down the stretch to counter the Eubanks’ explosive forehand.

On paper, it seemed the left-handed Norrie could curl his crosscourt topspin forehand into Eubanks’ more suspect one-handed backhand wing.

In reality, Eubanks’ serve and forehand were the two biggest shots on the court and he clubbed both with conviction.

A year ago, Eubanks was ranked No. 163 and floundering.

Now, Eubanks rises to a career-high ranking of No. 40 and will face 73rd-ranked Aussie Christopher O’Connell with a trip to his first major fourth round on the line.

Atlanta native Eubanks grew up playing with two hands off both sides, like Monica Seles and the young Rafa Nadal, before opting for a one-handed forehand at about the age of 10.

Four years later, he dropped his two-handed backhand in favor of a one-hander for one simple reason: His tennis hero Roger Federer played with a one-hander.

These days, Eubanks said he still revisits eight-time Wimbledon winner Federer’s matches on YouTube to refine his own game.

“Ironically enough I watched a lot of Federer growing up,” Eubanks said. “He’s the guy even to this day I go back and try to find some of his old matches and just try to pick little things up just to try to implement things in my game.

“I know he’s a far better mover than I am, a lot better at net and really just better at everything, but I try my best to take just little bits of various players and implement into my game and create a style of my own.”

While Eubanks’ one-handed backhand return can be targeted by opponents on other surfaces, the fact the ball stays lower on grass means other players can’t kick it up quite as high to the American’s one-handed backhand. That allowed Eubanks to chip some backhand returns then look for his favored forehand.

It is Eubanks’ seventh straight grass-court win and comes just one month after the American lost in straight-sets to Jurij Rodionov in the second round of the Surbiton Challenger.

That loss left Eubanks lamenting lawn tennis as not the surface for him.

“I had a rough go of it the first week of grass on Surbiton. I just didn’t really like my movement, my footing,” Eubanks said. “I felt the ball was too low. I lost second round of a Challenger and I just wanted to complain.

“So I started complaining to a lot of players saying grass isn’t for me, I can’t wait to get back on a court where the ball bounces consistently. Just trying to vent a little bit. I think just getting it out as allowed me to have a better view of grass.”