Tennis star reaches Aussie Open quarter-final having never before left the US

Tennis star Ben Shelton had never used his passport before heading Down Under – but can now dream of unthinkable Australian Open glory.

American sensation Shelton has taken the Grand Slam by storm and is making a global name for himself on his first trip abroad. The exciting 20-year-old left America with no expectations whatsoever but became the first male US player to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final since Andy Roddick after a thrilling run at Melbourne Park.

Shelton – last year ranked outside the world's top 500 and competing for University of Florida college team – now faces fellow unseeded American Tommy Paul in the last eight. And the young underdog, who made his US Open debut last year, is just two wins from a fairytale appearance in Sunday's final after four mighty victories in his second ever Slam.

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"Leaving the States for the first time definitely felt strange at first," Shelton, whose father Bryan is also a former tennis pro, admitted. "It took me a little bit of time to get over the jetlag and feel like I had got my feet under me after the trip.

"I'm feeling pretty good physically now but it was definitely a difficult adjustment. I've been across the States – from Florida to California – and got my passport in 2019. Finally I got to use it.

"Getting to see two new countries, Australia and New Zealand, has been a cool experience so far. And I'm looking forward to seeing more of the world over the coming months when I'm on the tour."

Breakthrough star Shelton has been too busy making waves on the courts in Melbourne to take in the sights on his first trip overseas.

But the exuberant youngster, who still divides his playing time with a business degree, is keen to check out the sights Melbourne has to offer when his tournament ends.

"After the tournament, I will hopefully see a few cool things. You can't come all this way and not take in the sights," he added. "But right now we stick to the routine."


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