Paul didn’t have much buzz in larger sports conversations, if any, before making the trek Down Under (Undah) this year. Shelton wasn’t a needle-mover but undoubtedly had more than Paul. And Shelton’s five years younger than the man he bowed out of the Australian Open against. The 20-year-old Shelton won an NCAA Title last year at Florida and was traveling outside the United States for a tournament for the first time as a professional. And making it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam is nothing to scoff at. Now the Americans’ hopes solely rest on Paul for the first time in the tournament with a juggernaut looming across the court.


Let’s be honest — this is going to be an uphill battle for Paul. And he knows it. Is it impossible to defeat Djokovic? No. Will it be close? Yes, and that’s actually not a bad thing. Djokovic and most tennis diehards believe the only thing stopping the world’s top player from winning his 10th Australian Open men’s singles title is himself. And Joker jock-itch has looked fantastic thus far in the tournament against more accomplished players than Paul. Strap in folks, this could be an elementary semifinal exit for Paul. Or it’ll be his star-making moment, even if he loses valiantly. Either way, Paul’s career is about to change, and shame on a heavy majority of us for it taking this long to notice him.