American tennis sensation Ben Shelton recently wished his older sister Emma Shelton on her birthday by posting an adorable picture from their childhood.
Shelton rose to prominence at the 2023 Australian Open with a stunning performance in only his second Grand Slam tournament. Shelton, who had never been outside of the United States before his trip to Melbourne, defeated Zhang Zhizhen, Nicolás Jarry, Alexei Popyrin, and J.J. Wolf to advance to the quarterfinals.
Despite the 20-year-old's fairytale run being cut short by compatriot Tommy Paul, his incredible performances caught the attention of many, and he has been labeled "the future of American men's tennis."
The 2016 USTA junior national champion (doubles) comes from an athletic family, as both his parents, Bryan Shelton and Lisa Witsken, were tennis players. His elder sister, Emma Shelton, is a senior on the University of Florida women’s tennis team. She was the only Shelton sibling to pursue tennis seriously before Ben Shelton stepped away from football at the age of 11.
Ben Shelton took to Twitter on March 18 to wish his sister Emma a happy birthday, sharing a childhood photo of them.
"Happy bday big sis. Bringing back a beautie," Shelton wrote.
"Definitely a surprise, I got on the plane with no expectations" - Ben Shelton on his Australian Open run
Ben Shelton said in a press conference that his incredible run at the 2023 Australian Open was definitely a "surprise" to him as he boarded the plane without any "expectations." He added that it allowed him to play freely, which contributed significantly to his success.
"Definitely a surprise. I got on the plane with no expectations. I know that it's very hard to adjust to Australia from the United States just with the jet lag, time change and everything," Shelton said.
"It being my first time, never being out of the United States, I knew it would be a struggle. So I think it maybe has helped me a little bit kind of not having that expectation or the feeling that I have to perform, but being able to just go out there, be myself and play free. I think that's been a big contribution to my success," he added.
The American's most recent performance came at the ongoing 2023 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. He defeated Italian Fabio Fognini before falling to his countryman and defending champion Taylor Fritz in the second round.