By Erik Gudris | @ATNTennis | Monday July 10, 2023
Christopher Eubanks, before his electrifying run at the All-England Club, portrayed one of the sport’s icons in two documentaries.
Now they both share a piece of Wimbledon history.
The 27-year-old Eubanks continues to captivate tennis fans with his stellar run at Wimbledon this year, where his five set victory over No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitisipas placed Eubanks into the last eight at the event in his main draw tournament debut.
A few years ago, Eubanks lived an entirely different tennis experience, when he had the opportunity to portray one of the sport’s great champions – Arthur Ashe – in two separate documentaries about the legendary player and activist.
Just last year, Eubanks appeared as a young Ashe in the CNN documentary “Citizen Ashe.” Eubanks posted about his appearance on his social media.
— Christopher Eubanks (@chris_eubanks96) June 15, 2022
After his win over Tsitsipas, Eubanks was asked about his experience taking part in the documentary and what he might ask the great Ashe if he could sit down with him.
“If I had that opportunity, I’d honestly just want to pick his brain on what he thinks of my game,” he said. “That would probably be the coolest thing, to be able to say, ‘Hey, maybe you’ve seen me play, what do you think? Where are some areas I can improve? I know that you got a pretty big serve, you had a good forehand, you had a nasty backhand slice. I’m trying to do a little bit of that. You like it? You don’t?’ Just to kind of get his honest opinion.”
Eubanks, 27, and in the midst of a career year, says that by portraying Ashe, he got to know the American tennis legend, icon and human rights activist even better.
“To be able to portray him in that documentary was really, really cool,” he said. “It was an experience not just doing film, which was a bit different, something I’d never done before, but also having to do the research that I did, having to go back and watch old film to try to get the technique down. Also watching tons of interviews of him just to try to learn his demeanor, his perspective on things, his philosophy, how important education was.”
A few years earlier in 2018, Eubanks also portrayed Ashe in another documentary “The Ashe ’68 VR Experience” that was first featured at the 2018 US Open and then later premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
That short documentary showcased Eubanks as Ashe while it told the story of Ashe becoming the first Black American to win the US Open men’s singles title in 1968.
“It was also super, super rewarding when I got to see the final project. It was something that I take great pride in and I’m excited I was selected to be able to do it,” Eubanks added about the experience.
Ashe, who won Wimbledon in 1975, and the Australian Open in 1970, passed away at age 49 in 1993 due to AIDS-related pneumonia.
With Eubanks’s own run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, he becomes only the third U.S. Black American man to reach the last eight at the All-England Club along with Ashe and 1996 finalist MaliVai Washington, since the start of the Open Era.
Christopher Eubanks is the 3rd Black American man to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since the start of the Open Era in 1968. He joins Arthur Ashe (3 times) and MaliVai Washington (1996).
This was his first ever win over an ATP Top-10 player. pic.twitter.com/ZzY6Atkx8t
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 10, 2023
Ashe, who won 793 ATP matches and 44 titles, would have turned 80 today.
We celebrate and honor the legacy of Arthur Ashe on what would be his 80th birthday! pic.twitter.com/wDwYLrkYVp
— USTA (@usta) July 10, 2023
Eubanks will next play Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals.
Photo Credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty