Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick heaped praise on Ben Shelton after the rising American star made the quarterfinals of the 2023 Australian Open on his debut.
Shelton, who is 20 years old, became the first American since Roddick to reach the final eight in Melbourne aged 21 and under. He defeated fellow American rising star J.J. Wolf in five sets 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2 in the Round of 16 to progress through in the tournament.
Roddick on his social media platform revealed that he was impressed by Shelton's performances during the tournament while also commenting on the rise of American tennis players on the ATP tour.
"I love Ben’s energy. Massive serve, a big body, athleticism, and kid hustles. Will be 10 US men in the top 50 next week. Tide is turning, and it’s turning fast," tweeted the former US Open champion.
The Georgia native is one of three Americans to reach the last eight at the major alongside Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda.
Ben Shelton next faces another American, Tommy Paul, in the quarterfinals for a place in the last four of the Australian Open.
"It's been a pretty special week for me" - Ben Shelton
Ben Shelton mentioned that it has been a "very special" week in his life at the ongoing Australian Open.
In his post-match press conference, he revealed that he has a lot on his plate as he started school this week as well.
"Yeah, I feel great. It's been a pretty special week for me. Definitely a lot on my plate, playing my first Grand Slam outside of the United States, and starting school this week. It's been a lot (smiling). But I'm really enjoying it so far," he said.
The 20-year-old said that he had no expectations when he was on the plane heading to Melbourne.
"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," he said.
Shelton mentioned that the key has been to ignore the pressure and be himself.
"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.