Many great players played in Auckland over the years, as it's a very popular event that is always well organized. It's a nice event to kick off the campaign and serves as pretty good preparation for the Australian Open.
It won't be the first time Shelton played in Auckland, as he actually made his debut there this year. The American started off his 2023 campaign in Adelaide but lost in the opening match to James Duckworth. He then made his way to Auckland, where he played well to start beating Sebastian Baez.
The second round is where his campaign ended, as Quentin Halys proved better. He's going to return in 2024, hoping for a better result, and with the way his game developed throughout 2023, it's very likely that he will do better.
The announcement of his return was made on the event's social media page on November 7th which shows how popular he has become. He's one of the rising stars in tennis, and his electric style earned him a lot of fans.
Part of that is the success as well because he clearly established himself as one of the best players on the Tour. The first professional season was a great success, with a maiden trophy won in Japan and a Top 15 debut at the end of the year.
That's quite a bit better than his rank at this time last year, which was 107th. A great start to the 2024 campaign would set the tone well for the rest of the year, so let's see what he brings to New Zealand.
The event will run from January 8th till the 14th in the week before the Australian Open.