Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open
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One of America’s brightest young tennis talents has a connection to arguably the sport’s greatest ever player. Ben Shelton, who hadn’t previously left the States until the current season, has made it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. He defeated compatriot J.J. Wolf to reach the last eight and will face another American in Tommy Paul for a spot in the semi-finals.
The 20-year-old has certainly raised his profile with his electric performances at Melbourne Park, but one of his biggest fans is none other than Roger Federer. In August last year, the Swiss Maestro signed the star to his agency after he had just turned pro.
TEAM8 is a sports management agency co-founded by Federer and Tony Godsick in 2013. The company aims to manage athletes and invest strategically in the sports world. Godsick serves as the CEO of the firm and the company has its headquarters in Ohio, USA.
2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was managed by TEAM8, while current players associated are Grigor Dimitrov, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and French Open finalist Coco Gauff.
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“TEAM8 intends to be at the forefront in managing top athletes, and acquiring, investing in and strategically partnering with organisations and brands in the sports, media, technology and event spaces.” TEAM8 said on their Linkedin page. Shelton revealed that growing up he looked up to Federer and explained what he admires about the sporting legend.
“I liked the classiness of Fed, the aura around him and the way he carries himself on court in victory and defeat,” Shelton said last August, per Sportskeeda. “He was kind of like a good role model on the court, off the court, how he handled the press, just a class act.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion’s influence is clear to see as Shelton pulled off a lob winner that Federer would have been proud of at the 2022 Cincinnati Masters. Shelton hit a between-the-legs shot that was very similar to one of the 41-year-old’s signature moves.
The shot quickly went viral, with many praising Shelton’s skill and creativity on the court and it has since done the rounds on social media again. Tennis TV posted the shot from last year’s event on their Instagram this week as a mark of appreciation for the player’s efforts at the Australian Open.
One year ago, Shelton was No. 569 in the ATP Rankings and still in college at the University of Florida. The lefty was not yet in the top spot of his team’s lineup, but 365 days later, he is set to break into the world’s top 50 for the first time.
“I feel great. It’s been a pretty special week for me,” said Shelton, who is still taking online college classes. “Definitely a lot on my plate, playing my first Grand Slam outside of the United States, starting school this week. It’s been a lot. But I’m really enjoying it so far.
“Each match that I’ve won here has felt the same. It’s a mixture of joy, relief. I just have that feeling of ecstasy. When the last ball lands, I did it. To be able to do that on this stage four times in a row, that feeling over and over again, has been pretty cool.”
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