Tennis is often about winning Grand Slam titles and reaching No. 1 in the world.
But it’s about a lot more than that, too.
There are different milestones for different players. Some set all-time records. Others just want to win a single match on the main tour. Hundreds and even thousands of professional tennis players a trying to achieve wildly different goals every day, every month and every year.
For Christopher Eubanks, his eyes have always been on the top 100 prize.
On Monday at the Miami Open, that dream became a reality.
Eubanks defeated Gregoire Barrere 6-3, 7-6(7) to reach the fourth round. Because of that result, the 26-year-old American is up to No 96 in the ATP live rankings and is guaranteed to officially break into the top 100 for the first time in his career when the new rankings are released next Monday.
That’s why Eubanks was so emotional following his victory, during which he came back from a 6-2 deficit in the second-set tiebreaker.
“It’s a benchmark,” the former college star at Georgia Tech said when asked by Tennis Majors what the top 100 means. “Every professional tennis player, it’s a big deal for them. It solidifies like, ‘hey, you’re a real pro.’ You’re an established pro.’ Out of everybody in the world that plays tennis at some point, in some week in the world, you were one of the best 100 tennis players in the world. IN THE WORLD. Like, there’s a lot of people that play tennis. A LOT of people. And it’s like, I’m sitting here as one of the top 100 best people to do it – one of the best players to do it right now. It feels good.
“Damn it, man. This shit is…. Ugh. Why am I crying? This is so embarrassing! But, no, it feels good.”
Eubanks thought this day might come sooner, but perhaps he thought about it too much. The current world No 119 admitted following Monday’s win that his preoccupation with the the top 100 affected his recent play. Some disappointing results included a loss to Feliciano Lopez in Lopez’s last-ever tournament in Acapulco.
“The past few weeks have been really, really tough just because I’ve been kind of thinking about top 100 and everything,” Eubanks said. “I had some losses that I shouldn’t have [had] and I was really second-guessing a lot about my game and everything.”
There is no second-guessing now — not about his game, and certainly not about his career choice.
“Damn. It’s crazy, man,” Eubanks concluded. “Wow, this is weird. Sorry. It’s just wild.”
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