24 Comments

Easy to be an editor - much much tougher to do the writing...Like sitting in the player box yelling at the writer, hey its a great story! It will write itself!

Expand full comment

As always, thoroughly enjoy and appreciate all of the in-depth background stories. Go, Ben!!!!

Expand full comment

Men’s tennis is way overdue the type of shock we see regularly in the women’s game where a completely unheralded and largely unknown player to the wider public seemingly comes out of nowhere and bags a slam. I guess the last time this happened was in 97 with Guga which seems a lifetime ago now. I desperately want to believe but it’s Novak Djokovic! Realistically, I know there’s little chance of an upset but whatever the result on Friday I want to come away with optimism from that match and see Shelton throw the kitchen sink at Novak and leave it all out there on court. Basically, I want to see the antithesis of Fritz’s performance against Djokovic from Shelton.

Expand full comment

Chris: what’s your take on his all-court game at present or at least in potentio? The fact that he plays doubles suggests at least that he’s comfortable at net. Is he committed to it in his singles?

Expand full comment

Thank you for using tiebreakER!!!! Great column...

Expand full comment

Well Chris this is just making me miss your daily coverage for the Times! Shelton's immediate embrace of the giant stage - his utter ease - is what we see from Alcaraz. They are almost annoying in their in your face attitude. We like up and comers but want them to show some humility until they win something. As Selena R once write about the Belichick wannabes "You gotta earn the hoodie." Carlos has earned it but he was this way before he won a title...Maybe this is the true social media generation. - so used to Tik Tok and Instagram etc that the public glare invigorates them and becomes mother's milk. I guess Agassi was like that and McEnroe but these two - and Tiafoe - take it to a new level. As you note, Ben is still in mixed with Taylor. He (and Gauff) still doing double duty....has to take some minor physical toll on serve in this heat? but my guess is it is keeping Ben emotionally loose because he and Taylor are literally having fun out there.

Expand full comment
founding

Foe just never seemed comfortable as you note. Shelton gifted him 3rd set TB with two DFs and he pushed in an 82 mph 2nd serve in n set point. Timid tennis. I thought he had physical advantage but even that didn’t seem to be the case. His serve was spotty throughout. Overall, to be honest, match had some great moments but a bit of a letdown as neither guy was consistently high level and rarely were they both peaking at same time. Shelton definitely was the better player and bolder player and smarter player. Just too much of the old ‘Foe with highlight shots that missed instead of safer shots that extend point or win it w/o drama.

Expand full comment

I think his match will be better than Taylor’s but my perspective about him, as well as Novak’s prior opponents, is that he is the next sacrifice on the way to the final. Carlos has a tougher path to get there. Felt bad for Frances. I thought it was his time. Excellent article, as always.

Expand full comment
founding

Fascinating! Especially the father son angle. Seems like his father’s decision to leave his job and be his son’s coach has accelerated his son’s progress. Found it interesting too in your earlier story that you quoted Ben as saying he knew his father would be able to help him. Tennis is filled with these wonderful -and sometime difficult- family stories. As usual one of your columns has led me to think about tennis in a deeper way. All the best to Ben!

Expand full comment

Excellent analysis as always. Thanks. I was hoping big Foe might make it this time. But nothing against Ben. It would actually be very interesting to see how Ben handles Alcaraz who could be just resting on his laurels a bit with the adulation of the ATP and fans. Wonder who the crowd would support...

Expand full comment
founding

Ben Shelton seems like he has the potential to be competing up there with Alcarez and Djokovic more regularly. He seems like the most promising American talent on the men’s side!

Expand full comment