Australian Open quarter-finalist Ben Shelton’s firepower and raw talent make him a "massively exciting" prospect for the sport, says Eurosport expert Tim Henman.
The 20-year-old came out of nowhere to battle his way through to the second week in Melbourne, before succumbing to fellow American Tommy Paul in four sets.
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Shelton’s performance at his second Grand Slam appearance, after losing in the first round of the US Open last year, will propel him into the top 50 of the ATP rankings for the first time, and Henman thinks the best is yet to come.
"You’re not going to make the quarter-finals in Australia without being a good competitor,” former British No.1 Henman said on Eurosport’s Australian Open coverage. “What’s exciting as well is that his game is so raw. There are so many areas you can look at.
“John [McEnroe] was referencing his return to the hit point, he’s a long way back in the court, his volley technique is actually pretty ordinary. But if you’re coming behind a serve that’s 220 km/h, you’re going to get some easy volleys.
“The more he can put himself in that position, the more he can impose his undoubted firepower on his opponents, he’s going to be a nightmare to play against.”
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Shelton was ranked No. 570 this time last year but with the help and guidance of his father, former professional tennis player Bryan Shelton, he has shot into the top 50.
"Part of this is experience," added Henman. "A lot of times you say ‘we need to let this player, male or female, develop. They need to get on the Tour and experience travelling and playing in all these different venues.
“This was his first trip, he’s through to the quarter-finals. He was No.500 in the world I think in about May, and now he’s going to be top 50."
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