“I would love to have a second-week run at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open,” Christopher Eubanks said last week on a talk show. “To be able to tell people that don’t know tennis, ‘quarter[finalist] at Wimbledon’… it’s a different level of respect.”
Eubanks spoke it into existence. He plays world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon on Wednesday after an improbable run during which he has upset No. 12 Cameron Norrie and No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
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Until last week, the 27-year-old American had never made it past the second round of a major, nor played in a Wimbledon main draw. He had never even been ranked in the ATP top 100 until April 2023, when he made the Miami Open quarterfinals. Come next week, Eubanks will be ranked inside the top 40, thanks to his current hot streak on grass that began in late June with a first career title at Mallorca.
His run will also be accompanied by a hefty payday. The $430,000 he’s secured for reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon is already more prize money than Eubanks has made in any prior calendar year, and brings his 2023 total over $1 million. The payout for reaching the Wimbledon semifinals would be $759,000.
Since making his ATP debut in 2015, Eubanks has earned $1.8 million in prize money, which is hardly enough to live a lavish lifestyle on the tour given coaching, equipment and travel costs. According to a story in the The New York Times Magazine, Christopher O’Connell, a 29-year-old Australian currently ranked 73rd in the world, made just $15,000 from tournament payouts in 2019 after deducting expenses. He worked side jobs to earn additional income.
Tennis players who have spent most of their career on the fringes can benefit greatly from a domino effect that often follows a deep run at a major. A significant boost in ranking points leads to automatic qualification for high-level events and more favorable draws at lower-level tournaments, which in turn facilitates more on-court success.
Eubanks, for instance, has a great chance to be seeded at the 2023 U.S. Open due to his Wimbledon rankings bump. With four other American men in the ATP top 25, including Taylor Fritz and Francis Tiafoe in the top 10, American fans will have plenty of countrymen to cheer on in New York later this summer.
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