There isn’t any place for tennis fairly like John Cain Area.
Nick Kyrgios final 12 months known as it “the zoo” and informed followers who packed in to the $29-a-ticket stadium they had been “uncontrolled”.
The group at JCA was at its wildest greatest once more on Saturday evening when Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin tried to proceed his exceptional run by reserving a spot within the final 16 on the Australian Open.
However one other younger gun, newcomer Ben Shelton had different plans.
The American, who was on his first ever journey outdoors america, had an excessive amount of energy for Popyrin, working away in straight units to advance 6-3 7-6 6-4 in precisely two hours.
The vastly pro-Aussie crowd cheered loudly for the Australian and at occasions booed the American who responded by placing his hand to his ear as if to say, “I can’t hear you.”
After the match, he addressed the group straight, evaluating them to raucous school crowds at residence.
“I do know I got here from school tennis and I believed it was rowdy there however this stadium is one thing particular,” he mentioned.
“I do know you had been going on your hometown boy right now however thanks for everybody on the market supporting me. It was actually enjoyable to be part of.”
Information.com.au requested Shelton in regards to the crowd after the match. He mentioned he knew he was in a particular enviornment when the group “booed me as quickly as I walked out”.
“They type of set the tone once I walked out on the court docket and obtained booed. First time in a professional match that that’s occurred,” he mentioned.
“I can at all times respect a rustic getting behind their man so it was actually cool to see.
“The sound in there type of vibrates. There have been a couple of Aussie guys screaming for me within the crowd and I don’t suppose the remainder of the Aussies favored that an excessive amount of.”
Shelton’s story is a exceptional one, with a brand new chapter being written day by day.
Final 12 months he was ranked 570 on the planet. With a win on Saturday evening he may need moved into the world’s high 50 gamers.
It’s a enormous leap for a participant who swore he wouldn’t carry a tennis racquet when he was 13.
He didn’t need to chase the game his father performed a technology earlier. However love intervened.
“I swore I’d by no means play tennis. I fell in love with the game and right here we’re,” he mentioned.
Of the Melbourne crowd, lots of whom at the moment are Ben Shelton followers, he requested a favour — would they get rowdy once more when he takes on fellow American J.J Wolf in two days time?
“I do know that we’re Individuals however I hope you come out and assist,” he mentioned.
Talking with reporters after the match, Popyrin mentioned Shelton has all of the instruments to be a high 10 participant.
“Actually, if that is the best way he performs day in and time out, the man is high 10 in six months,” he mentioned.
“Perhaps he can play higher than he did right now, but when he performs like he performed right now he’s a drive to be reckoned with.
“I don’t suppose I did a lot unsuitable.”