Paul Jubb sets sights on Wimbledon after Taylor Fritz ends hopes of success at Eastbourne | Tennis | Sport


After enjoying success at Nottingham and Ilkley since he was awarded his Wimbledon wild-card, the world no. 472, still an amateur, hit a brick wall in the shape of Taylor Fritz, 430 places above him.

Jubb, 19, may have put his name alongside Americans Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe by winning the NCAA college title last month, but he was no match for Fritz’s uncompromising forehands.

The 21-year-old broke four times on the way to a 6-2, 6-3 victory on a busier-than-usual Court 1 – even if one or two have not caught up with the Jubb buzz.

“Who is it Fritz is playing?” one surprised spectator at the back of the line of spectators waiting to get a glimpse of Britain’s newest tennis hope had asked at the start of the match.

There was enough about Jubb’s Novak Djokovic-demeanour and determination even in the face of defeat in his first ever tour-level match to suggest he will not be anonymous for long.

However hard he tries.

“Tomorrow, yeah, I am off on the train to Wimbledon,” he said. “I have been getting trains and stuff just around and stuff.

“I always have my bags with me, and that tends to make me stick out a bit.

“But it’s nice that people recognize me now and stuff. It’s something I’m not used to, but it’s just a nice thing – just really nice moments.”

The scrutiny will get even sharper the moment he steps into SW19. Jubb’s break from his college degree majoring in retail management at South Carolina is on hold until the New Year while he explores where his wild card entry into the main draw at Wimbledon takes him.

“I’m ready just to go out there and compete my hardest, really,” Jubb said. “It’s not something to be scared of, really. Otherwise it could be an opportunity that’s wasted.

“Obviously is a little overwhelming, but it’s something you’ve got to handle. And it’s something I think I can.”

We are going into a fortnight where focus will also be on the development of the next generation of tennis players behind Andy Murray.

The LTA coached him from the age of eight and encouraged him to find and pursue a career in American college tennis.

But it is still slightly awkward that Jubb had to head from Hull across the Atlantic to get to this level.

“I definitely wouldn’t be here now if I didn’t go that route,” he said.

“At the top of college tennis, being a no. 1 this season I had I was playing good players week in, week out. It’s something that’s helped me prepare for this moment.

“I had a lot of good wins under my belt in college. So a lot of the good tennis I’m playing now is because of what I have done this past season.”

Meanwhile, promising 17-year-old Briton Jack Draper was dumped out of Wimbledon qualifying at Roehampton on Monday on another depressing day for the future of the sport.

Draper reached the final of the boy’s singles at Wimbledon last summer and was hoping for a spot in the main draw next week.

He had served notice of his ability to move up a level when he secured his maiden ATP Challenger win in the Nottingham first round having not played since April.

But after recovering from dropping the opening set on Monday to take Japanese world number 182 Yasutaka Uchiyama to a tie-break in the second, Draper was blown away without picking up a single point to lose 6-4, 7-6.

However, fellow British players Jan Choinski, Evan Hoyt, Mark Whitehouse and Ryan Peniston were all sent packing through the exit doors in quick succession, with Liam Broady the only home hope left standing.

The 25-year-old from Stockport beat Slovakia’s Andrej Martin 6-3, 6-1 to meet Tallon Griekspoor from the Netherlands in the second round.

If he can win his next two games he earns a place in the main draw for the fourth time in his career.

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