By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, March 11, 2023
Rocket Rod Laver was among the passionate fans watching an explosive Ben Shelton launch missiles that bruised the back wall.
Playing with poise and purpose, Fritz fended off Shelton 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 for his seventh straight BNP Paribas Open win.
More: Fritz Fights Off Shelton
Asked to assess the 20-year-old Floridian’s future, Fritz said Shelton is a “super dangerous” player who can realize his massive upside if he can block out “crazy expecations” thrust on talented young Americans.
“He’s really good. I think it’s too early to tell [how good],” Fritz told the media in Indian Wells. “I think it’s a really dangerous thing that people do putting crazy expectations on young American players.
“He’s really talented. He’s super dangerous if he’s playing well, just with the serve and the weapons that he has.”
The 2022 NCAA champion from Florida imposed his dynamic game during inspired run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in his first trip outside of the United States last January.
The left-handed Shelton can is much more than a pure power player. While he can club the serve 140 mph and cranked several forehands over 90 mph, Shelton also showed some fine feel on droppers, played slice backhands and forehands and executed some timely serve-and-volley.
Expectation can be both ally and adversary. As Shelton gains more experience, grows stronger and learns when to deploy his vast variety he will be even more lethal, Fritz suggests.
“He definitely has a really bright future,” Fritz said. “He’s got a super explosive game and he has a lot of stuff that that he will improve on.”
Photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty
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