Noah Rubin surprised more than a few people with his upset win over 17th-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday.
“My girlfriend’s sending me pictures — I’m trending on Twitter. I mean, that stuff is cool,” the 19-year-old Long Islander said after his 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) first-round victory over Paire.
Back on Long Island, Rubin’s parents were both excited and sleep-deprived after watching the match on streaming video in the early-morning hours on Monday.
“I’ve been without sleep for about two days,” said Rubin’s father, Eric, who has been his lifelong coach. “So ridiculously exciting. I’ve been spending every second responding to calls, texts, emails. Hope all of this sounds lucid, because I’m delusional and sleep-deprived.”
“It was funny because he was so calm and just content on the phone,” said Rubin’s mother, Melanie. “We were just talking about regular stuff. I haven’t slept a lot.”
As of Monday, Rubin was ranked No. 328 in the world, a ranking that will go up regardless of the result of his next match on Wednesday against unseeded qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France. Rubin said it was right back to work after the biggest win of his fledgling career. He turned pro last June after his freshman year at Wake Forest.
“People have done way better than me at my age,” he said. “People have won slams at my age, so winning one round is not too terrific.”
Rubin received a wild-card entry into the main draw as part of a reciprocal agreement between the U.S. and Australian tennis associations. He had played only one previous match in a Grand Slam main field, a straight-sets loss to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open.
Rubin had an impressive amateur career, winning the 2014 Wimbledon junior title and the U.S. boys 18 title that got him the U.S. Open entry, and losing in the final of the 2015 tournament.
“I love being in the spotlight,” he said. “I hope I don’t come off cocky or arrogant, but I do enjoy playing in the spotlight. I’ve always played my best tennis.”
Rubin showed a steadiness and consistency that the more experienced Paire lacked. Paire had 61 winners to only 22 for Rubin, but also 72 unforced errors to Rubin’s 22.