US tennis star Ben Shelton doesn’t want to ‘put a ceiling’ on what he can achieve
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About this time last year, Ben Shelton was an up-and-coming tennis player taking his first-ever trip outside the United States.
Not long out of college, Shelton was relatively unknown on the circuit having only been pro for the past six months. But armed with a lethal serve and the fearlessness of youth, things were about to change – fast.
“I feel like it went from nobody knowing me to a lot of people knowing me kind of overnight,” Shelton tells CNN Sport. “It felt really quick.”
Skip ahead 12 months and the 21-year-old American is in Australia preparing to play in his sixth grand slam and second at Melbourne Park.
At this point in his young career, Shelton’s results have been excellent: he reached the quarterfinals of last year’s Australian Open and went a step further at the US Open, eventually losing to Novak Djokovic in a fiery semifinal. Several weeks after that, he won his first ATP Tour title in Japan.
It figures, then, that Shelton enters his second full season as a professional tennis player with weighty expectations.
“He could cut his ranking in half,” tennis coach and broadcaster Brad Gilbert recently told CNN, “and I think he’s going to be the first American potentially to win a slam since Andy Roddick.”