Shelton, playing on his Laver Cup debut, admitted that he was consumed by nerves and struggled to cope with the intensity of the match in the early goings. But that didn't appear to be the case, as he served immaculately, holding to love in each of his first three service games.
Shelton was playing an opponent who was actually younger than him in Arthur Fils. That added a bit of pressure as he was expected to coast through the match. But he survived a deuce game at 4-5 down and then went on to win the first-set tiebreak from a 1-4 down.
Shelton wrapped up the second set much more routinely, 6-1. Speaking after the match, Shelton attributed the lack of time clock as a relief as he was able to relax and loosen up.
During official ATP matches, tennis players have a maximum of 25 seconds between points, and the shot clock begins counting immediately after the umpire calls the score.
Shelton noticed that there was no time clock courtside, and bided his time between points, but by his own estimation, he felt that he hardly exceeded the 25-second rule and he was not deceitfully trying to slow things down to win points or 'go outside the rules'.
"Yeah, I thought at the beginning of that match I was a little nervy going from point to point. It felt fast and felt like, you know, he was playing well and he was kind of on top of me, dictating points and kind of the rhythm of the match."
"Then, you know, I kind of looked around to see if there was a game clock running out like usually we have at ATP tournaments. I didn't really -- I didn't see anything. So I started taking more time, and I was waiting to see if -- I mean, I don't think I was going over, like 25 seconds is normal, but I was waiting to see if I got a time violation and nothing happened."
"So maybe there is not a time clock in this event, which, you know, when I was down Love-30 and took a little bit more time in a couple of service games, I thought it kind of helped me dial things in and change the rhythm a little bit of the match. Like I said, I wasn't trying to go outside the rules or go too slow, but just taking a little bit more time without seeing the clock run down I thought helped me."