He didn’t realize how prominent he’d become.
“Friends tried to tell me, who came over for the quarterfinal, said ‘You don’t understand man, you’re all over the news,’” Eubanks said Friday at Atlantic Station. “I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. Maybe in sports, I’m like second in the sports section.’”
Eubanks’s Wimbledon run drew headlines as a classic underdog story. It was just the second time he’d advanced past the Round of 16 in any professional tournament, following winning the Mallorca Championships in late June. He described his achievements in Mallorca and London as “three of those dream weeks.”
Eubanks was born and raised in Atlanta. He grew up playing at the South Fulton Tennis Center. He calls himself lucky to grow up when and where he did, attributing much of his success to his Atlanta roots, crediting South Fulton, Westlake High School and Tech.
As he’s embraced Atlanta, the city has embraced him back. A Tech-sponsored watch party for his quarterfinals match drew over 75 attendees. Eubanks felt the support overseas.
“Atlanta really paid attention,” Eubanks said. “They really enjoyed following it. Makes it even more (meaningful) that it wasn’t just the tennis community of Atlanta, it was Atlanta.”
His run wasn’t just impressive for Atlanta – it was historic. USTA Georgia executive director Darren Potkey believes that Eubanks is the first Atlantan to make it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in singles since Bitsy Grant in 1936 and 1937.
“It’s an honor,” Eubanks said. “If I’m not mistaken, Atlanta’s the largest tennis market in the country, per capita. … So to be the first one since the 1930s, it’s pretty remarkable. I had no idea.”
Eubanks returns home when he’s not playing, but he’s getting to do both by playing next week in the Atlanta Open, held Saturday through July 30 at Atlantic Station. The first two days feature qualifying and a Sunday night exhibition between Coco Gauff and Leylah Fernandez.
The tournament has done all it can to highlight Atlanta’s tennis scene, promoting the city and allowing in college wild cards from Tech (like Eubanks previously and Andres Martin this year) and Georgia. Georgia graduate John Isner has won six titles and will compete again this year, as will the doubles team of Ethan Quinn (this year’s NCAA singles champion) and Trent Bryde, also wild cards. Atlantan Ben Shelton, who debuted at the event in 2022 and advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, also will play. But Eubanks will be the crowd favorite.
Eubanks, 27, grew up looking up to slightly older Atlantans such as Jarmere Jenkins (32) and Donald Young (33). Now, many young players are looking up to him. He hopes young Atlantans watch him, Shelton, and others, and aspire to have similar success.
Playing an ATP 250 event such as the Atlanta Open is nothing new for Eubanks, but his recent successes mean his expectations have changed. Instead of going in hoping to win a couple of games, he’ll now go in looking to win the whole thing.
He doesn’t want the success to shake him from his roots, but there has been one change. Eubanks was asked if he prefers strawberries and cream, Wimbledon’s iconic dessert, or the Varsity’s Frosted Orange.
“I’m gonna catch some hell for this one,” Eubanks said, “(but) I’m gonna say strawberries and cream.”
Court christened: Eubanks spoke Friday on center court at Atlantic Station. The venue is constructed each year for the tournament, so Eubanks was part of a ceremony to christen the playing surface.
Eubanks and tournament director Peter Lebedevs spoke at the event. The first rallies on the court were played by Eubanks and Hawks assistant general manager Kyle Korver. The two teamed up after to play doubles against Quinn and Bryde.
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC