From Garnet and Black to all white, South Carolina men’s tennis star Paul Jubb made his debut on one of the sport’s biggest stages on Tuesday, competing in the first round of the men’s singles tournament at Wimbledon.
Jubb, a native of Hull, England, competed as a wildcard against Joao Sousa of Portugal, ranked No. 69 in the world. Jubb lost in four sets, 6-0, 6-3, 6-7 (10-8), 6-1, but earned praise on social media for a hard-fought match.
“The few weeks before this and as well as this gave me a lot of confidence going forward,” Jubb said in a statement from South Carolina. “I definitely feel like I belong at this level and can win at this level. It’s just tough to jump from one level to the other straight away. The more I play at this level, the more I’ll be able to manage the matches because once you give these guys an inch, it’s not easy to get back in. There’s very little margin at this level. But, I definitely gained a lot of confidence in the weeks leading up to this, and there are a lot of positives to take from this as well.”
The Gamecock All-American will still get at least one more chance to play at the Grand Slam event — he is entered in the double tournament with fellow Englishman Jack Draper and will take on the team of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Columbia, the No. 2 seed on Wednesday.
Getting the chance to compete in the world’s oldest tennis tournament marks yet another milestone in a year full of them for Jubb — he became South Carolina’s first ever tennis national champion in May after putting together a sterling 38-4 record as a singles player.
Jubb was one of just three teenagers to compete in the men’s singles tournament this year, and he is only the fourth Gamecock ever to play at Wimbledon. Ranked 431st in the world, he is also the first reigning NCAA singles champ to play Wimbledon since 1981.
In the run-up to his Wimbledon debut, Jubb drew media attention after speaking about the influence of his grandmother, who raised him after his parents died while he was young. During his match, his gritty play to push Sousa to a fourth set off a tiebreaker also earned him plaudits.
To win his national title in May, Jubb made a run through a set of ranked players, capped by the No. 1 player in the country Nuno Borges from Mississippi State. Borges had beaten Jubb in the regular season, but Jubb took a 6-3, 7-6 (2) match in Orlando, Florida to earn the championship.