Here in New Haven, two-time Oracle Challenger Series quarterfinalist Noah Rubin has strung together three consecutive victories and catapulted himself into the tournament quarterfinals. He meets men’s No. 1 seed Andreas Seppi next.
The 23-year-old American has been a highly touted prospect since his adolescence, garnering early accolades including the USTA junior national championships in both singles and doubles, as well as winning the Wimbledon junior singles championship. His early success propelled him to a scholarship to play college tennis at Wake Forest University, where he would need only one season to showcase his talents. He officially turned pro at the age of 19.
While Rubin has been on the professional tour for only a few seasons, his resume already includes highlights such as four ATP Tour Challenger titles. Perhaps even more impressive, his on-court ability is matched by a unique perspective on the game that is well beyond his years.
Rubin realized that most casual tennis fans don’t understand the grind that goes into playing week after week and month after month, trying to scrape by doing what they love. For every Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, there’s hundreds of newly turned pros travelling to every tournament they can, just trying to make a name for themselves. While hoping to breakthrough against the sport’s most recognizable names on the court, they’re dealing with their own off-court issues just like the rest of us.
To showcase the personal stories of his peers, Rubin started the Instagram page ‘Behind the Racquet’. Over 24,000 followers later, it’s clear that people are beginning to understand the powerful, and often sobering stories that make tennis players so much more than just that.
Using the ‘Behind the Racquet’ platform, players have opened up about their stories of loneliness, anxiety, familial pressure and more. While some might consider something as public as social media an awkward landing spot for such intimate anecdotes, the reality has been a form of communal therapy for the players.
Whatever happens for Rubin in New Haven, it’s clear that his unique perspective and on-court talent will keep him around the sport for many years to come.