The mother of Noah Rubin has described the “nachas” she felt after seeing her son win the coveted Wimbledon boys’ title.
Melanie Siegel Rubin was gushing with pride as her 18-year-old son claimed his first junior Grand Slam win and said it was “surreal” as she sat down to watch the final on television, thinking, “that’s my boy out there”.
She told jewishnews.co.uk: “People keep asking me how I felt when Noah won and the word I use is surreal. That and plenty of nachas! When I first spoke to him, I said ‘mazeltov’ and asked him how he was feeling. I could see he was tightening up, he’d played eight matches over so many days and I was concerned about him physically.
“I know it may sound funny, but first of all I expect Noah to win every time he goes on the court. I have confidence in his ability, his mental game and being able to figure out just how to do it. That being said it’s the Wimbledon junior tennis final so those emotions come in the play but very often he’s been known as ‘the comeback kid’ – you never rule him out, and while it was definitely a rollercoaster of emotion, I was just focussing on the stage – where he was, the fact he was playing against a good friend of his, and I think I was just appreciating the whole atmosphere.
“His sister and I were on the phone with him afterwards just crying, but he was very calm. But that’s how he is, he takes things in his stride. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate the enormity of it, he does and I know he was shocked when he walked into the stadium and saw how many people there were there. He wasn’t expecting that and was taken aback by that.”
Describing him as “a great kid and a family boy”, she said: “Noah’s just a regular kid, he’s my boy, goes to school, has a lot of friends who he’s had since he was little and plays video games. He started hitting a ball as a baby, and over the years he has worked so hard, he’s done so much training and travelling, and for all that to come together at Wimbledon is unbelievable.”
His win meant he also attended the Wimbledon Champions Dinner on Sunday evening, and on donning his tuxedo, joked: “It was the first time I wore a suit since my barmitzvah.”
Saying her son is proud of his Jewish roots, she also revealed how he enjoyed a tennis-themed barmitzvah, which as its centrepiece, included glass vases filled with tennis balls. “Noah is someone who appreciates his heritage,” she said.
“He’s very close with his four grandparents, they speak about the past and generations before and it’s something he holds very dear to his heart.”
And elaborating on his barmitzvah, she said: “I borrowed a giant tennis racquets from a local pro shop & everyone took pictures of themselves with Noah behind it. We had a tennis Wii set up and collected tennis rackets for the Israeli Tennis Foundation for his barmitzvah project where he collected them from the synagogue and his school, we had a drop-off point for people to give them up and we then donated them. The centrepieces were glass vases filled with tennis balls.”
He’s also yet to visit Israel, though that’s not for the want of trying. “His sister Jessie was vice-president of Hillel at her University, she went on birthrite to Israel, went back again with the Jewish National Funds of community service and has a deep connection with Israel,” Melanie says. “She wanted Noah to go there and compete at the Maccabiah Games, but with his training and travel schedule, it’s difficult to fit anything in. I know she has shared her love of Judaism and Israel with Noah and shared the stories with him.”