July 02, 2019
Paul Jubb showed the same fighting spirit that has defined his entire life to emerge from his Wimbledon debut with a defeat, but also plenty of pride.
Paul Jubb emerges from Joao Sousa defeat with pride intact after battling Wimbledon debut
Ultimately, Portuguese world no. 69 Joao Sousa had the experience to steer his way to a 6-0, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 victory that had seemed at first to be plain sailing.
The 19-year-old British player may be an American college tennis champion, but to start with Sousa was making this look like the school of hard knock-outs.
The first set was a 20-minute schooling for Jubb, but it is one he seemed to take to heart. The scoreboard was there to measure the learning curve as it happened.
An enthusiastic Court 17 crowd – hundreds crammed round its modest stands and a queue waiting in vain for anybody to leave – were watching on as Jubb tentatively found his feet in senior men’s tennis.
The embarrassed helplessness of that opening-set bagel had many wondering on the wisdom of offering a Wimbledon wild card on the back of such slender credentials.
It is rare, though, for anybody to have given Jubb much in life he has not earned the hard way.
Having lost both his parents at a young age, he was brought up by his grandmother – sat proudly courtside on his big day.
But it had been his own raw talent on the local tennis courts that bought him a ticket out of Hull and passage into a top American education.
Paul Jubb emerges from Joao Sousa defeat with pride intact after battling Wimbledon debut
So with that in mind, Jubb dusted himself down at the end of that miserable first set, regrouped himself mentally and went more confidently on the attack.
Gamely, the world no. 431 held on in the second set until midway through before Sousa was able to press home his advantage.
Then in the third set, to the delight of the crowd, Jubb actually broke him. Twice. Trouble was, Sousa was allowed to break back.
But at the end of a fiercely-contested tie-break, after saving two match points, Sousa was lured into hitting slightly long and Jubb had his first set.
Paul Jubb emerges from Joao Sousa defeat with pride intact after battling Wimbledon debut
He had strained every sinew to get it. Sousa is a wily opponent who has spent time in the world’s top 30, though, and it turned out he had an extra gear.
An early break, another one to follow and a final ace ended the contest after two hours and 16 minutes.
But we will be seeing much more of Jubb, that is for sure.
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