With some help from a conversation with Andy Murray, the British youngster Paul Jubb has decided to be represented by Murray’s 77 sports marketing agency as he forgoes his final year at the University of South Carolina in favour of turning professional.
“He reached out to me, just saying that he’s there to help if I ever wanted to talk about anything,” the 20-year-old says. “He just basically was saying he’s there to help with any decisions I have. The main things were I just spoke to the people closest to me about the decision and what move I’m going to make.”
Jubb, ranked 519 in the world, has also been included in the Lawn Tennis Association’s Pro Scholarship Programme that provides up to £80,000 per year to British players considered to have top-100 potential. After growing up in Hull and being based in South Carolina, he will now move to London.
The decision to turn pro has been swirling in Jubb’s mind since he was awarded a wildcard into the Wimbledon main draw last year after his unconventional path from East Yorkshire to the US college system led to last year’s NCAA National Championship singles title. The pragmatism in electing to build his game and a backup plan at university, rather than immediately risking everything on tennis, is underlined by his initial goals.
“For me it’s always been just trying to get inside that top 100. You see a lot of people saying I want to be a grand-slam winner and all that stuff. Yeah, for sure, definitely. But for me it’s just always been about getting into that top 100 and really making it my living and being able to play grand slams and things like that. And then once we get to that point, going full steam ahead.”
At Wimbledon Jubb and his coach spoke with numerous agencies but Murray’s help was difficult to refuse. “I guess that is definitely now an option that I can use him more as a source and potentially have more court-time with him and be able to talk to him more and use his brain to try to help me on court.”
Jubb is already a distinct presence in British tennis. His mother, who like his father died when he was young, was born in Kenya and he grew up with his grandmother on a housing estate. He is a working-class, black British player in a sport that has failed to provide a path for many other players from a similar background. His route through the United States is a reflection of that.
“It’s not traditional,” Jubb says. “Hopefully I can have more success and more kids around the country can see that you don’t have to grow up in a traditional background to get far in the sport. I would certainly like to think – maybe I am a bit now but even more so in the future – that I can be a good role model and kids can look up to me and see my story and how far I’ve come.”