In the world of tennis, it isn't every day that a player bursts onto the scene and captures the imagination of fans, players, and pundits alike.
But that's exactly what has happened with the meteoric rise of Ben Shelton. From playing challengers just last fall, the young star has rocketed into the top 50, with a major quarter-final appearance to his name already.
Tennis great Tracy Austin has been following Shelton's journey closely, and she recently shared her thoughts on the prodigy who has taken the tennis world by storm. Former world no. 1, Tracy Austin thinks that Shelton has a bright future and she loves his story as she revealed in a talk to Tennis.com.
" One of the great stories already of 2023 has been the meteoric rise of Ben Shelton. He was playing challengers in the fall last year, and now at the Australian Open got all the way to quarterfinals and has cracked into the top 50."
"Absolutely love his game. It's. Been fun to watch him through college, through the futures, the challengers, and now to where he is in the thick of it. He's got a massive lefty serve. The leftiness is a huge advantage, a huge forehand as well."
Austin's admiration for Shelton's game is evident, as she recounts his progression from college to futures, challengers, and now into the upper echelons of the sport. She credits his father, Brian, for developing Shelton's all-round skills and preparing him for the professional stage.
"The backhand is improved and maybe the thing that I like the most is he already at such a young age has an all-court game, and I would give a lot of credit to his dad, Brian, for, for developing every area of the court. I love his demeanor."
"He's got enough energy. It's almost like he skipped a few grades. He's gone from sixth grade to high school because when you're playing challengers in the fall and now all of a sudden you're gonna be going off to Europe for the first time and you're playing on red clay against the grinders."
Yet, Austin acknowledges that Shelton's journey is far from over. The young prodigy faces new challenges as he heads to Europe for the first time to compete on the demanding red clay courts.
"But this is part of the process, gain that experience is starting to feel more comfortable. In the top 50 break into the top 30. I think he has that capability. He's got a great foundation. Excited to see where Ben's game goes."