Andy Roddick names the American sensation he believes can make ATP Finals breakthrough | Tennis | Sport

Andy Roddick has backed Ben Shelton as the American tennis player he believes can qualify for ATP Finals next year. The 2003 US Open champion has heaped praise on Shelton after his breakthrough year and believes he is one of a number of US stars expected to reach lofty heights in 2024.

The season-ending ATP Finals is one of the most exciting events on the tennis calendar. The top seven ranked players by mid- November are automatically entered into the tournament with one space left for a Grand Slam winner ranked between eight and 20 – or the eighth-ranked player if no such Grand Slam winner emerges.

The tournament theoretically sees this season’s most in-form players battle it out to claim bragging rights going into the new season. And while some familiar faces are involved, players from the US such as Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul have all missed out.

Among the several big names watching at home is World No. 17 Shelton who has enjoyed an impressive season. The 21-year-old won the Japan Open, reached the Australian Open quarterfinal, the US Open semifinal and ended the year with 26 wins and 24 defeats in his breakout season.

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And while he failed to make the ATP Finals list, tennis icon Roddick believes Shelton will be the most likely American to succeed next season.

“Personally, if I had to choose one, I think I would go with Ben Shelton,” Andy Roddick said via Tennis Channel. “The guy’s currently 17 in the world, has made runs at Slams already and all the while he is still figuring out, how to play, tennis like, he left the country this year, for the first time in his life, it’s only gonna go up.”

“He’s gonna break serve a little bit more, even figure out how to hold serve a little bit more, how to pitch a little bit of a better ball game,” he added.

“I love that post US Open, he was consistent back-to-back weeks for the first time found that level of consistency,” Roddick continued. “It wasn’t just a shot, the shot in the arm in Australia, and then kind of take a little bit of time off and not went back to back matches semi-final.”

“He would continue that in Tokyo,” he added. “So I guess Ben Shelton, but listen, they told us to pick one. I wish I could pick them all.”

If Shelton were to appear in next year’s tournament he would be the first American to qualify since Taylor Fritz in 2022. The last American to reach the final was James Blake in 2006 – who lost to Roger Federer – and Pete Sampras was the last winner back in 1999.

Only five Americans have reached the ATP Finals since 2010: Fritz, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mardy Fish and Roddick – but the next generation of US stars offer plenty of promise.

“It would be nice if they were a little bit different It looks like I didn’t do much to help those stats unfortunately at the year in finals,” Roddick said when shown the list. “But listen, you got, I’m looking at the names on my little scratch pad here and we have five legit contenders.”

“If you look at Sebastian Korda, Ben Shelton, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz – We have five contenders for a spot of the ATP Tour finals next year.”

“I don’t know when the last time we could actually say that was an actually mean it, right, where it’s like, it would be shocking as anyone on this list maybe next year, or so I choose to be positive with this team.”

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