Rockville Centre's Noah Rubin likely has a long tennis career ahead of him, but the 17-year-old, who holds a No. 26 junior ITF ranking in the world, had his run at Wimbledon cut short.
Rubin, whose ITF ranking makes him the third-highest ranked player in the United States, lost Sunday in the first round of his sixth Junior Grand Slam tournament, falling in three sets to Great Britain's Luke Bambridge, 6-3, 4-6, 7-9.
"It's the best thrill of my life," Rubin said. "This England trip has been great so far, I love playing on grass and it's a once in a lifetime experience but I hope I get more chances."
Rubin was in control during the first set, winning each game on serve and breaking Bambridge twice, while only committing four unforced errors compared to Bambridge's 16. Rubin had nine unforced errors in the second set, compared to Bambridge's three, and could not earn a break point opportunity as Bambridge's one break proved to be enough.
In the dramatic third set, Rubin fought off three match points in the final game before losing the match. Bambridge's serve was also key, as he picked up seven of his 18 aces and won 76-percent of his first serve points.
"[Noah] played and competed magnificently against a favored local boy, in front of a local crowd of hundreds of spectators," Eric Rubin, Noah's father and coach, said in an email to Newsday. "Noah was astounding in staying so composed under pressure and being able to come up with shots on incredibly key points that even had the partisan crowd on its feet cheering for Noah. Not the least of which was coming back in the final game."
Rubin participated in two pre-Wimbledon tournaments in England to prepare, most recently reaching the Round of 16 at the AEGON Junior International Roehampton. His best run in a Grand Slam came in 2012 when he reached the quarterfinals at the Junior French Open, but in this year's French Open he was eliminated in the Round of 16. In his only other appearance at Wimbledon last year, he was also knocked out in the first round.
Rubin is at a point in his career where he soon will have to decide whether to turn pro or look to play in college, but for now as a rising senior, he's excited for the opportunities to play on the sport's most historic sites-the U.S. Open Junior Championship is only a couple of months away.
"I've been playing for so long now so in my mind I'm training and working all my life to go pro. Whatever path I need to take to get there, that's the one I'll take so we'll see in a few months," Rubin said earlier in the week.
"You can't explain to anybody. It's tough to get the feeling of playing on the French Open courts or at Wimbledon. You're treated like royalty and it's because you deserve to be there and worked your whole life to be there . . . And you watch the pros and see how far you have to go, and the journey continues."
Team Lipsky bows out
With the No. 10 seed in the tournament, Merrick native Scott Lipsky and his doubles partner Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico had hoped to advance to the second week at Wimbledon, but they didn't make it past the second round.
Lipsky and Gonzalez fell to Canada's Jesse Levine and Vasek Pospisil, 6-4, 6-7 (6-3), 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, in what was Lipsky's seventh appearance at Wimbledon.
Lipsky and Gonzalez had won their first-round match, Tuesday, in straight sets over Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) and Benoit Paire (France), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
In their second-round defeat, Lipsky and Gonzalez couldn't capitalize on break opportunities, converting just 2 two of nine break point chances, while Levine and Pospisil converted two of four.