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Australian Open 2023: But who is Ben Shelton, the American prodigy who did not leave his country before the Australian Championship?

On Wednesday morning, at 4:30 a.m., Ben Chilton will challenge fellow American Tommy Ball for a spot in the Australian Grand Slam semi-finals. A real achievement for the 20-year-old who has exploded since the start of the tournament.

When he first used his passport and left his home country last December to join Melbourne, not many people knew Ben Chilton… and vice versa. The young man never left the United States, not even for the holidays.

The American still refers to the honorable 83rd place in the ATP. The rating was obtained thanks to the tournaments played within the boundaries of Uncle Sam. The Atlanta native earned his points by performing well during ATP tournaments, Challengers… and even cashed in a wild card to the US Open last September. However, the Grand Slam adventure was short-lived with elimination in the first round.

Here the dream lives # Objectives # Australia

– BenShelton January 23, 2023

Quite the opposite in Australia where Ben Shelton is daydreaming. Fallier of Zhang Zhizhen (96th), Nicholas Jarry (154th), Alexei Popyrin (113th) and Jeffrey Johnwolf (67th), found himself in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday at 4:30am. in the morning.

Studies running through the “courts” of the Australian Open

A very special few days as he indicated after qualifying in the comments you quoted Eurosport : “It was a very special week for me, it started to achieve a lot. I played my first major tournament outside the United States and also returned to school.”

Ben Shelton turned professional in August 2022, has not given up on his studies in finance, and the young man is trying to juggle tennis with lessons as much as possible: “I haven’t taken any exams yet, so it’s okay. Fun when my exam dates clash with my match dates.” .”

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American football before tennis

If he continues on his way, Ben Shelton risks missing out more and more from the stands. Standing at 1.93 metres, the 20-year-old stands out for his powerful serve that regularly puts his opponents into difficulty.

He draws strength from American football, his first love. Ben Shelton was a quarterback before he got into tennis when he was about 12 years old. The sport his father, Brian Shelton, played at a high level, notably reaching No. 55 on the ATP in 1992.

Ben Shelton has arrived #AusOpen The quarter-finals in his first draw?

He is the fourth American man to achieve this since 1990, joining Tennys Sandgren, Andre Agassi and Patrick McEnroe.

– ESPN (espn) January 23, 2023

“He’s a good friend.”

But Ben Chilton is in Australia to write his own story and it might be for the best if they beat Tommy Ball in the quarter-finals. An opponent who knows him well, as I mentioned the team “He’s one of the American players who took me under his wing the most, who helped me a lot in getting through this whole new life of a career, he’s a good friend. I’m happy to play against him, for such an important game.”

One thing is for sure, the Americans will put friendship aside during their battle on Wednesday. The winner will reach the semifinals, where he will find Novak Djokovic (fourth) or Andreev Rublev (fifth).

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