Eubanks, Mmoh Take In Night Of Hoops In San Francisco
On Wednesday, they will face off in the second round of the Kunal Patel San Francisco Open. But on Tuesday evening, Americans Christopher Eubanks and Michael Mmoh tossed aside their racquets for a night of basketball across the bay.
Eubanks and Mmoh attended the blockbuster basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena. A second encounter on the tennis court awaits them, following Mmoh's three-set victory at the Challenger in Charlottesville last year, but the two friends put aside their budding rivalry to watch the NBA's elite players do battle. Behind a dominant performance by superstar Russell Westbrook, the Thunder pulled the upset by a score of 125-105.
"It was awesome," said Eubanks. "It's something that I don't get to do very often. Usually when I come to tournaments, I'm more focused on the tennis and going to the hotel. It was definitely a fun experience, being able to come here and see some of the best athletes in the world. These are two of the best teams and to be able to soak it all up and take a step away from tennis, it refreshes the body and the mind. It puts you in a good place mentally and lets you go out and play again."
Eubanks, an avid basketball fan and Atlanta Hawks supporter, said he tries to play every day when he's at home. The former Georgia Tech University standout turned pro in November, having already registered a quarter-final run at the ATP World Tour 250 in Atlanta earlier in 2017. The 21-year-old also successfully qualified for his first Masters 1000 tournament at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
"For me, it was a sport that I've always loved but never did," Eubanks said about his love for basketball. "Almost like a forbidden fruit. I think I was pretty good at it for someone who never played organised basketball. Being able to scrimmage with guys who are pros is something that I've always loved to do and gravitated towards."
Mmoh, meanwhile, is one of the United States' surging #NextGenATP stars. The World No. 163 is targeting his third ATP Challenger Tour title this week in San Francisco after kicking off his 2018 campaign with a quarter-final result at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. It was his first match wins on the ATP World Tour.
The 20-year-old is one of ATPWorldTour.com's 10 To Watch On the ATP Challenger Tour in 2018.
"It was just really cool to see the NBA elites like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and all those guys," said Mmoh, a Washington Wizards fan. "I've been wanting to see them play live and it's been such a pleasure. Thanks to the ATP for hooking it up.
"My dad was a pretty big NBA fan and his favourite was Michael Jordan. That was around the time I was born and he actually named me after Michael. That alone, basketball is always going to be one of my favourite sports. Jordan will always be one of my role models. That's the main reason I love it so much."
A quarter-final spot is on the line for Eubanks and Mmoh in San Francisco, a $100,000 event on the Challenger circuit. The winner faces Serbian teen Miomir Kecmanovic.