Two Gamecock tennis alums make statements at Wimbledon
London, England – For the first time in program history, two South Carolina men’s tennis alumni hit the courts at Wimbledon with Paul Jubb and Francisco Cerundolo, taking to the courts at the All England Club on Tuesday. With a wild card entry into the tournament, Jubb pushed ATP No. 40 Nick Kyrgios to five sets, while ATP No. 41 Cerundolo challenged second-seeded Rafael Nadal on Centre Court in a four-set loss.
South Carolina is one of 11 U.S. colleges with alumni competing in this year’s Wimbledon and just one of four with multiple entries – UCLA (3), TCU (2) and Virginia (2).
Making the second Wimbledon appearance of his career, Jubb took the momentum of his ATP Challenger Tour season, including his first win in March, onto Court 3 against Kyrgios. Playing well ahead of his current career-high ATP ranking of 219, the Englishman took the first set 6-3 but gave up the next two sets 6-1 and 7-5. Jubb fought to stay in the match during a close fourth set. There were no breaks on either side, and the decision came down to a tiebreak that Jubb won 7-6 (3).
The final set started even but Kyrgios earned the first break to take a 4-2 lead. He appeared to have the match secured while serving at 5-3, but Jubb refused to give in, extending the set with a service break. After Jubb tied the set at five all, Kyrgios took the next two games to win the final set 7-5 to take the match.
Cerundolo made his Wimbledon debut Tuesday against Nadal, a former world No. 1 and holder of 22 grand slam victories, on Centre Court. Nadal had the clear upper hand through the first two sets, winning 6-4 and 6-3, but Cerundolo battled his way to a 6-3 victory in the third set to extend the match.
The Argentinian continued his momentum into the fourth set, earning an early break and holding his lead through the next four games. Nadal proved why he is considered one of the tennis greats though, breaking back to tie the set at four-all and winning the next two games for a 6-4 win to take the match.
At South Carolina, Jubb, a Hull, England, native became the program’s first ever NCAA Singles National Champion in 2019. Over his four-year career (2017-20) he posted program records in SEC singles wins (30), singles wins vs. ranked opponents (33) and SEC singles winner percentage (.833 (30-6)). Following his 2019 NCAA title, Jubb earned a wild card into both the singles and doubles draws at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. He returned for his senior year in Spring 2020, winning the program’s first ITA National Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award in the COVID-shortened season.
Cerundolo played for the Gamecocks in 2017-18 before deciding to begin his pro career. Since then he has risen to a career-high ATP ranking of 41 after a breakthrough season where he has earned a career-best 12 tour-level matches and made waves with a deep run to the semifinals at the Miami Open.
Both Gamecocks will now turn their attention to a new surface as they prepare for the hard court season and the upcoming U.S. Open.