'He Is The Present And Future Of Tennis': Shelton Praises Alcaraz Before Toronto Meeting

'He Is The Present And Future Of Tennis': Shelton Praises Alcaraz Before Toronto Meeting

by Nurein Ahmed

Of the current Top 100 players, Ben Shelton might actually be the first person to have heard of the name Carlos Alcaraz.

And ahead of their much-anticipated popcorn match during the night session at the Canadian Open, Shelton had nothing but praise of a player who is defining an era. The energetic young American is the same age as Alcaraz, and recalled his earliest memory of hearing the Spaniard's name as early as 14.

Shelton was still amazed at how good Alcaraz was while still a junior. At the time, the Atlanta native had not even turned pro because he believed he was not good enough. Little did Shelton know he'll share the stage at one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments with Alcaraz this week.

"Some of the Americans in the United States were talking about, ‘This is the best 14-year-old in the world’, and I hadn't really gotten into tennis yet. I was no good. But I definitely watched a few clips of him at that age and couldn't believe how polished of a player [he was], how many skills he had at such a young age."

"He's been out here grinding on the international tour for a few years now. and this is my first [full] year out here. So I'm looking forward to playing a little bit of catchup."

Shelton's praise does stop there. Alcaraz is tipped to lead the next generation of tennis players and become the face of the sport. Winning two Grand Slam titles on different surfaces at 20 is something not even the Big 3 managed.

While tennis pundits and fans have always learned to temper hype with a pint of caution, Shelton is sold on the notion that Alcaraz isn't just the present, but the future of the sport. And ahead of their clash tonight, Shelton believes he's got a fair chance of beating him.

"I think it's pretty great to see everything that he's done so far. [He is] definitely the present and future of tennis. So [it is] really cool to be a part of this era and be at tournaments at the same time as him. But at the same time, we put on our pants the same way every single morning, and I'm really looking forward to a battle tomorrow."


You may also like